By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Caine Storino
Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony signifying the completion of the cliff line erosion repair project on Naval Station Rota, Spain (NAVSTA Rota), Nov. 5, 2021.
Started by Seabees in January 2018, the project is designed to stabilize the eroding cliff line along the NAVSTA Rota shorefront in order to protect base housing and critical infrastructure, which are vital to supporting the fleet.
NMCB 1, NMCB 11 and NMCB 133, rotationally deployed as Commander, Task Group 68.2, all worked on the project. Each battalion’s Seabees used civil engineer support equipment to build a 32 feet high and 36 feet wide barrier constructed from 200,000 tons of stone along a one kilometer stretch of shoreline. The barrier prevents tidal erosion of the shoreline and stabilizes the adjacent cliff line to prevent further impacts to the base housing and critical infrastructure.
“I was there in 2018 during the start and it feels really good being here at the end of the project,” said Equipment Operator 3rd Class Nicholos Pisani, from Newburgh, N.Y. “We put so much work into this project and a lot of money was invested, so I’m glad to see it close out today.”
In 1953, the U.S. and Spanish governments signed the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement, strengthening their military partnership, and began joint use of NAVSTA Rota. However, by 1963 the erosion along the base’s cliff line was already a safety concern and required the base to demolish the base commanding officer’s house due to risk of collapse.
Many projects over the years were unsuccessful in solving the erosion problem, but in 2016 the current project was designed and was estimated to cost $11 million. The Seabees made a proposal to complete the project with $8.3 million, so the project was given to the Seabees.
“It’s really a phenomenal project that is leaving behind a lasting improvement of this critically strategic base,” said Capt. Cameron Chen, Commander, Task Force 68. “It demonstrates how our Seabees are capable of improving the resilience of our maritime infrastructure in this theater. This project aligns with how our construction forces clear, build, secure and protect on behalf of the combatant command.”
It was a massive endeavor for the Seabees, but they were on time and on budget. Now complete, the hopes are this project will slow down the erosion for many decades to come.
“On behalf of the base, thank you to all three battalions that had a hand in completing this,” said Capt. David Baird, commanding officer, NAVSTA Rota. “The housing and other critical pieces of infrastructure were in danger from the eroding cliff line, and this project should ensure the cliff line turns into a gradual and stable slope.”
NMCB 1 is forward deployed to execute construction, humanitarian assistance, and theater security cooperation in the U.S. Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Fleet areas of operation.
As a component of Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces, the Seabees provide the unique capabilities of general engineering support, bridging, expeditionary airfield damage repair and port damage repair. This provides mission-critical capabilities that ensure sustained logistics in a distributed maritime operations environment.
To learn more about NMCB 1’s impacts around the world, visit https://www.facebook.com/NMCB-ONE-The-First-and-The-Finest-124282507598400