By Journalist 3rd Class Nick Young, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific
Sixty-one Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 are supporting the Navy’s ongoing $19 million construction project at Navy Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF), San Clemente Island.
The “Fearless” Beavers of NMCB 74 are constructing a 21-mile-long tank trail from a beach landing site to the island’s Shore Bombardment Access area. The trail will allow Marines to train with amphibious assault vehicles
for shore landing operations. The project, which started in June 2004, is scheduled to be completed by 2010 and calls for many activities including equipment maintenance, operation of rock crushing equipment and blasting evolutions.
“The training that takes place here is vital to Pacific Fleet’s readiness. The improvements the Seabees are making will enable Marines and Navy Special Forces to train like they operate in the real world,” said Cmdr. Bradford M. Klemstine, officer in charge of NALF.
The Seabees, homeported in Gulfport, Miss., are making a lot progress, said Lt. Seth Mangasarian, NMCB 74 San Clemente Island (SCI) detachment officer in charge.
“I have an amazing group of Sailors out here," he said. "These guys are talented and eager to work. The progress we are making is impressive.”
The work has brought 68 pieces of civil engineer support equipment (CESE) to the island, including bulldozers, dump trucks, rock crushers and other equipment needed at large construction sites.
According to the project supervisors, between maintenance and operation of the equipment and blasting operations, each Sailor is receiving a rare opportunity to train and experience areas in the construction field to which others in the Navy may never gain exposure.
Military Construction Project Supervisor Equipment Operator 2nd Class Zack Miller agrees.
“This may be the best project we will get to work on in our entire Navy careers," Miller said. "The Navy just doesn’t do this kind of work anymore. They contract it to outside companies, so it’s unique to be here.”
The SCI Detachment will remain on the island until December, making progress toward completion of their various projects. A different Seabee unit will relieve NMCB 74 in December and complete the project.