By Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Rachel L. Kuebler
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 leadership visited a deployed Seabee detachment in Ochakiv, Ukraine, March 27, 2019.
Lt. Cmdr. John Daly, NMCB 133 battalion operations officer, Lt. Cmdr. Mark Torres, a chaplain assigned to NMCB 133, and NMCB 133 operations Senior Chief Constructionman Chris Sterner made the trip. This was the leadership’s first visit with det. Ukraine, which is led by Lt. Amanda “Mandy” Caffee, the officer in charge.
Leadership was able to observe first-hand the ongoing Maritime Operations Center (MOC) and Boat Maintenance Facility (BMF) projects for Ukranian partners. Sterner recognized several Seabees for their hard work and accomplishments, and the chaplain praised the Seabees on how well they have overcome challenging site conditions and unpredictable weather while maintaining a positive outlook.
“I got to spend a day on site with [our det] and was completely impressed,” said Daly. “Mandy’s team is tougher and more motivated than the cold winds off the Black Sea. They're building the Seabee legend with each every pound of steel, concrete, and drywall they put on target, and they're doing it in the right place at the right time.”
The MOC is nearly complete, and the BMF project made major strides last month and is on track to be completed by May 16, 2019. Both projects will be turned over to the Ukrainian Navy once complete, strengthening the U.S.-Ukrainian partnership.
“I am incredibly proud of my team and all they have done to achieve our goals,” said Caffee. “We are happy with the work we have done so far, and I know our Ukrainian partners will be happy with the end products.”
MOCs are the operational-level warfare command and control organizations designed to deliver flexible maritime capabilities throughout the full range of military operations. They support fleet management and the execution of operational responsibilities by providing commanders with flexible, tailored, and scalable staff and processes to make mission-critical decisions and enhance maritime capabilities.
Members of the deployed unit in Ukraine are taking advantage of their time, making major headway on Seabee Combat Warfare (SCW) and Expeditionary Warfare (EXW) qualifications. The boarding process has started for multiple Sailors, and their first deployment Expeditionary Warfare qualification board was completed with success.
NMCB 133 is homeported in Gulfport, Mississippi, and forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, with details and detachments deployed across five combatant commander areas of responsibility to provide an adaptive and scalable Naval Construction Force ready and capable of executing quality construction in combat or in support of civic action, humanitarian assistance, or disaster recovery.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security, and stability in Europe and Africa.