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Petty Officer 1st class William White, builder, and Petty Officer 2nd class Chris Roberts, steel worker, load a bench Seabees built for the Post Exchange barber shop March 23. The Sailors of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 took over the mission in a small ceremony earlier that day.

Photo by Cpl. C. Alex Herron

Battalion 'Can Do': Seabees continue role aboard Al Asad

25 Mar 2005 | Cpl. C. Alex Herron

Building, welding and carpentry are just some of the skills the more than 400 reserve sailors of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 use to support the units of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). The Seabees Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24, from Huntsville, Ala. are activated sailors who came from more than 30 different reserve units across the Eastern United States. Seabees around the globe provide responsive military construction support to military operations, construct base facilities and conduct defensive operations. In addition to standard wood, steel and masonry construction, the Seabees also perform specialized construction such as water drilling and battle damage repair. They also work and defend themselves outside their base camp and convoy through unsecured areas.Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 took over the mission in a small ceremony inside the Seabees compound, March 23. The battalion’s mission is to continue the work of their predecessors and support the Marine Expeditionary Force in any way they can.“A lot of our projects are just a continuation of the previous battalion’s work,” said Lt. j.g. Jeromy Pittmann, battalion intelligence officer and Pensacola, Fla., native. “Our biggest task is the runway renovation on Al Asad.”In preparation for their deployment, the Seabees underwent a wide variety of training including weapons qualifications, close combat quarters and patrolling.“We are 100 percent prepared for this deployment,” Pittmann said. “We are ready for the mission at hand because we completed all of our training and can put it to use as the situation dictates.”Despite all of the work they have here, the Seabees also have sailors at the different forward operating bases and a small camp maintenance detachment working with Al Asad’s garrison command. The Seabees are also working on a flightline reconstruction project that will fix parts of the runway that is hazardous to aircraft.“We are improving the quality of life at the forward operating bases for our fellow service members working there,” said Lt. Cmdr. Natasha Smith, operations officer and Nashville, Tenn., native. “We are building things like South West Asia huts at the other forward operating bases to make the lives of everybody easier.” South West Asia Huts or “swahuts” are reinforced tents built for office spaces or living areas. They were originally called “seahuts” or South East Asia huts built during the Vietnam conflict.The Seabees are known for their skills in construction, but this unit has compiled an all-star team, with many of their sailors working construction in their civilian jobs.“With our average age being 38, we have a lot of experience in this unit.” Smith said. “Many of our sailors are skilled in their craft. We have a lot of sailors who are master electricians, carpenters and more who bring their expertise to the job.”From top to bottom, the Seabees want to be here and understand how important it is to do the job correctly.“We want to accomplish our mission and be successful at whatever comes up throughout the deployment,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy G. Kirk, administration clerk from Jacksonville, Ala. “We want to leave this place better than it was when we found it.”With all of the skills available in the unit, the Seabees are prepared to do the best job possible in every assignment."The Seabees slogan is ‘Can do’ and that is exactly what we will do,” Smith said. “We are here to make things happen.”
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