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NEWS | Feb. 10, 2023

Commander, Task Force 68 Seabees and Georgian Land Defense Forces celebrate completion of Poti infrastructure project

By Lt. j.g. Leah Gordon, Officer in Charge, CTU 68.2.4

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, working under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 68’s Commander, Task Unit (CTU) 68.2.4, and Georgian Land Forces leadership celebrated the completion of a railroad loading yard in Poti, Georgia, Feb. 1, 2023.

The Seabees and Georgian Land Forces held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new railhead, which was built collaboratively by both NMCB 11 Seabees and Georgian Land Forces engineers.

“We could not have completed this without the help of our partners here in Georgia,” said Chief Builder Larry Ferguson, assistant officer in charge, CTU 68.2.4. “They have been great hosts and worked with us every step of the way.”

Construction of this new railhead will serve to vastly improve freight transport in the region and will directly support multinational exercises such as Agile Spirit and Noble Partner. This project is a demonstration of the capability and technical expertise of U.S. Navy Seabees and their host nation counterparts. Projects like these underscore their combined capacity and their contributions to critical infrastructure construction throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa areas of operations.

“We thank you all for your hard work and dedication to transform this site,” said Georgian Land Forces Colonel Ivane Buchukuri, chief of logistics. “The work out here will allow us to move heavy cargo and equipment across the country. It has been a pleasure to work with the Seabees and you are welcome back anytime.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Colonel Buchukuri exchanged gifts with Lt. j.g. Leah Gordon, CTU 68.2.4 officer in charge, and Chief Ferguson. He also personally congratulated Builder 2nd Class Ian Potter, crew lead, and Builder Constructionman Gabriella Coupe for being outstanding performers on the job site.

While CTU 68.2.4 received many accolades for completing the mission, completing the construction project was at times challenging. The unit faced inclement weather throughout their deployment, often working in cold and wet conditions. Against all odds, and with their mission always in mind, the unit overcame these challenges and finished the mission together.

“This deployment has been an incredibly unique and rewarding experience,” said Potter. “I am grateful for the opportunity and am proud of the team for pushing through.”

NMCB 11 is forward deployed to execute construction, humanitarian assistance, and theater security cooperation in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Sixth Fleet areas of operations, in direct support of CTF 68.

CTF 68, headquartered in Rota, Spain, commands all Navy Expeditionary Forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility and is responsible for providing EOD operations, naval construction, expeditionary security, and theater security efforts in direct support of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) and U.S. Sixth Fleet.

For over 80 years, NAVEUR-NAVAF has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the USEUCOM and USAFRICOM areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.