Seabee detachment builds for success at Fort Leonard Wood
March 29, 2012
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- A company of Navy Reservists visited Fort Leonard Wood March 21-25 to complete construction projects for the post, as part of their training requirements.
Seabees in Company B, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15, operating out of Belton, Mo., worked in the quarry, built components of the Sapper Leadership Course, completed licensing requirements with the equipment operator school and participated in military training during the visit.
"This is what we a call a unit-driven training," said Lt. Steve Hunt, company commander. "We're here for four days, and we're preparing for our field exercise in August, and then for our mobilization next year."
The company is made up of 120 Seabees, with a construction crew of 40, according to Hunt. The Seabees have a variety of specialties, from builder to steel worker, and come from several different states.
A small crew of about 10 Seabees worked on building four breach houses for the Sapper Leadership Course on Range 33 for the 1st Engineer Battalion.
The breach houses were good practice for the Seabees, since they are often required to build "SWA huts," or Southwest Asia huts, that are similar in dimension, downrange.
"The construction we're doing right here could be very similar to what we do on our field exercise, or on our mobilization, so it's realistic," Hunt said.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jay Camton, steel worker, built SWA huts while deployed to Iraq in 2007. He thought the training was a great opportunity for veteran workers, like himself, to teach new Seabees how it's done.
"Some of these younger guys that haven't done this before are really learning a lot," said Camton, who has served the Navy for 19 years.
When he isn't fulfilling his duties as a Seabee, Camton works at a bank, so he also enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the office.
"It's pretty much an escape -- it's nice to be out in the elements," he said.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Keith Manning, a steel worker, joined the Navy a year ago after serving in the Army for seven years. He is a welder off-duty, so learning to build a structure was especially useful for him.
"It's actually pretty challenging," he said, adding that experienced builders on the construction crew helped him with the technique. "I'm glad everyone else can build, and we kind of band together."
"It kind of shows just how versatile every Seabee can be, just in the unit. It's actually pretty cool to kind of expand the horizons of what I can do," he added.
The company's work during a single weekend will be a part of Fort Leonard Wood for years to come. Manning said working on projects like these show how service branches benefit each other.
"Everyone works together -- the Army gets to use it, we get to build it and we love it. We have a lot of fun building it," he said.