By Construction Electrician 3rd Class Angela Penton, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 Public Affairs
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (NNS) -- Seabees assigned to U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 Detachment Pasab continue strategic construction operations at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Pasab.
The detachment operates in the Task Force Spartan (TFS) area of operations, enhancing mission readiness for TFS and incoming soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne and Task Force Fury (TFF).
The Seabee's primary tasked project at Pasab is the construction of a 60 foot by 90 foot concrete maintenance pad, initially scheduled for completion in late March. Since breaking ground on the project in late January, Builder 2nd Class Dina Beale, project supervisor and a native of Niceville, Fla.; and project crewleader Builder 3rd Class Joshua Messer, a native of Houston, Texas, have led a crew of Seabees and local Afghan workers in the placement, finishing and curing of more than 150 cubic meters of concrete.
Their "can do" spirit and dedication led to project completion and turnover to 508th Special Troops Battalion more than a week ahead of schedule.
"This was a great opportunity to cross-train skills and obtain valuable concrete experience," said Equipment Operator Constructionman Matthew Loper, a native of Charlevoix, Mich. "If asked to place concrete again, I'd feel very comfortable with my knowledge to do so."
Tactical infrastructure construction is another important support area the Seabees have provided to TFS and TFF warfighters. Builder 3rd Class Nathaniel Callaham, a native of Henager, Ala., has led a crew of Seabees in the construction of three guard towers, two 4-hole burnout latrines and six tent decks to improve security and life support facilities for an Army infantry unit located at a nearby strong point.
NMCB 7 Seabees are also assisting the Special Troops Battalion in the fight against the growing and harvesting of illegal drugs in Kandahar Province.
Steelworker 3rd Class Shannon Archuleta, a native of Thornton, Colo., has directly contributed to TFS/TFF's objectives by working with Army personnel to train Afghan welders in the construction of eradicators, mechanisms similar to farming plows that are pulled behind tactical vehicles to disrupt marijuana and poppy production. Profits from these illegal drugs in the TFS/TFF area of operations have been known to fund Taliban operations, and the elimination of this income is essential in defeating their efforts.
In addition to FOB construction and tactical infrastructure support, Detachment Pasab Seabees have continued to focus on table of allowance equipment maintenance and management, office in charge discretionary projects, and material and tool management to maintain constant mission readiness in a dynamic environment.
The efforts of Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Manuel Iglesias, of Utuado, Puerto Rico, and Construction Mechanic Constructionman Evan Lederer, of Hackettstown, N.J. ensure maintenance and repair work is kept up-to-date on 17 pieces of civil engineer support equipment and constant improvements are made to the functionality and security of the maintenance yard. Concurrently, Utilitiesman 2nd Class Jeffrey Walter, a native of Reseda, Calif., who works as the detachment material liaison officer and central tool room manager, maintains accountability for 18 construction toolkits, miscellaneous tools and project materials, ensuring the detachment remains poised to take on any tasked assignment.
The Seabees of Detachment Pasab are thoroughly engaged in support of Task Forces Spartan and Fury's mission, and are leveraging the experience of all detachment members to provide the highest level of expertise and quality construction capabilities. They continue to enhance the Seabee legacy through their "can do" spirit in the joint expeditionary environment of southern Afghanistan.
NMCB 7 deployed to the Combined Joint Operations Area - Afghanistan, from its homeport of Gulfport, Miss. Jan. 9, to provide a highly responsive and maneuverable engineer force and resources to conduct contingency, mobility and general engineering support operations across supported commander's lines of operation throughout CENTCOM, to improve the operational capabilities of coalition forces.
NMCB 7, often referred to as the "Magnificent Seven", is one of the original 10 Seabee battalions authorized by the Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks, in 1942, and is currently one of nine active NMCBs in the Naval Construction Force, a military engineering force of nearly 17,000 active and Reserve Component Seabees operating worldwide. Upon completion of their current deployment, NMCB 7 will decommission Sept. 30 as part of the Fiscal Year 2012 force reduction plan.