About 500 Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 28 deployed March 1 for a mission to Iraq in support of the global war on terrorism.
According to the battalion commander, Cmdr. Craig Scharton, the battalion will build and maintain roads, drill water wells, complete vertical construction projects, and assist convoy security operations while in Iraq.
“We’ve gone through almost two months of training here in Port Hueneme, and we’ll go through additional training in Kuwait,” Scharton said. “We’ve honed our construction skills, but we’ve also learned other skills that will help us in Iraq.”
These additional skills include combat lifesaving and logistics to help in distributing the materials shipped to the area.
“I have been most favorably impressed in the way that Reservists from more than 50 Naval Operational Support Centers have come together to form a cohesive and dynamic construction unit,” Scharton said. “I’m fortunate to be associated with these professionals.”
Construction Mechanic 2nd Class April Russell, a heavy diesel mechanic with the Seabees, said she is looking forward to going.
“I’m ready to go,” said Russell. “I volunteered to go with NMCB 28, because I wanted to help. I’m excited and curious about the atmosphere over there. We’re ready to help any way we can.”
Yeoman 2nd Class Judi Owen said she was fortunate to be involved in the deployment.
“I’m excited. I believe in what we are doing and I believe in the people I’m working with to do this job. We got the training and we’re ready to go,” said Owen.
Owen said she is not afraid of going to the war zone.
“I’m not scared and not intimidated. We’ve received a lot of great training here. I’m doing things I never thought I’d be doing,” she said.
NMCB 28, which departed Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif., on Feb. 21 to begin a 14-month Iraq deployment, will be under the command of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment (30th NCR).
The regiment, commanded by Capt. Katherine Gregory, will provide critical construction for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (IIMEF) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
NMCB 28 will be part of nearly 1,000 Seabees, Marine and Army construction assets commanded by the 30th NCR. In addition to NMCB 28, NMCB 4, the 8th Engineering Support Group and the 719 Construction Support Equipment Group compose the regiment.
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (DV) Robert Palomares, Navy Operational Support Center, Peoria Public Affairs