By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 Public Affairs
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (NNS) -- Two Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, were each awarded their Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist (SCWS) qualification by Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus in a ceremony held on Camp Leatherneck, April 24.
Yeoman 2nd Class Deron M. Bennett, from Lakewood, N.J., and Engineering Aide Constructionman Shenelle C. Stewart, from Kingston, Jamaica, both assigned to NMCB-11, were each awarded their SCWS qualification by Mabus in a ceremony held on Camp Leatherneck, April 24.
Following the SCWS insignia pinning, Mabus awarded each of the two Sailors a Secretary of the Navy coin. He spoke about his admiration for the work that Seabees do and accepted questions before departing.
"I want to thank you all for what you do. You are the reason why the Navy and Marine Corps team is the finest expeditionary force the world has ever known," Mabus said.
"It was a great honor to have the Secretary of the Navy put time aside out of his busy schedule to pin my Seabee Combat Warfare qualification," said Bennett. "I worked really hard on it, and it made it extra special to have him pin it."
There are multiple criteria for earning the SCWS qualification including coursework, a field exercise, a written exam, and two oral board in which candidates must demonstrate their knowledge of Seabee combat warfare. Sailors who earn this qualification are said to have demonstrated competency and proficiency in the art of Seabee combat warfare and are authorized to wear the SCWS insignia.
"The toughest part, for me, was learning how to do things that are usually done by higher pay grades," said Stewart. "It was hard, but once you finish it there is a real sense of accomplishment, and you feel like you're really part of the Seabees."
Bennett suggested that those who enroll in the Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist program seek help from those who know it well. "Find a mentor; someone who can break it down at your level, and work with them on it every day until you get your SCWS pin."
Homeported in Gulfport, Miss., NMCB-11 is deployed to Afghanistan to conduct general, mobility, survivability engineering operations, defensive operations, Afghan National Army partnering and detachment of units in combined/joint operations area - Afghanistan in order to enable the neutralization of the insurgency and support improved governance and stability operations.