Seabees and Marines Complete Expeditionary Forward Base Operations Demonstration > Seabee Magazine > News
Just off the coast of Okinawa in the East China Sea, Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 and Marines with 3d Marine Logistics Group and 1st Marine Air Wing rehearsed the establishment of an expeditionary base (EAB) as part of Exercise Poseidon’s Watchtower, from June 2 to 17, on the islands of Ukibaru and Irisuna.
In a unified effort with 3d Landing Support Battalion, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 462 and Naval Beach Unit 7, NMCB-4 and 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) delivered troops and supplies to establish an EAB on islands remote off the coast of Okinawa. Naval Construction Forces and other Navy Expeditionary Combatant Command units like NMCB-4 perform Expeditionary Forward Based Operations (EABO) to support and protect the fleet through distributed maritime operations.
“It’s about expeditionary logistics and supporting the fleet from the littorals so they can take control of the sea,” said Lt Cmdr. Poseidon Watchtower Exercise Coordinator Steven Bischak. “This exercise was truly unique in terms of getting and sustaining forces on the islands. We really had to pull through with the amphibious forces from CTF 76, which transported us to the USS New Orleans and who unloaded equipment onto air cushions from Landing Craft and then used the power of HMH 462 and its CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters.This exercise really showed how Seabees can leverage and exploit key maritime terrain using maritime and air transport in order to obtain the mobility we need to reach our target.
During the exercise, NMCB-4 showcased naval integration with multiple units such as 3d Landing Support Battalion, Underwater Construction Team Two, 9th ESB and HMH 462, while being split between two remote islands, Ukibaru and Irisuna. On Ukibaru, Sailors and Marines conducted land and water technical reconnaissance of key maritime terrain. With support from 3d MLG Intelligence and emerging Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technologies, the naval engineering team developed an integrated assessment of the island’s suitability as a location for the system. high-mobility rocket artillery (HIMARS) and maritime resupply. The Navy-Marine Corps team collected and transferred data to the Construction Operations Integration Center (COIC) on Camp Shields which developed designs for littoral transition points to rearm, resupply and refuel future platforms naval vessels such as the Light Amphibious Warfare Ship (LAW) and Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV).
Across Okinawa, atop a weapons training range on Irisuna Island, Seabees and Marines exercised their ability to live and operate in austere conditions in the area of engagement of arms. The Navy-Marine Corps team built a concrete bunker with locally sourced low-signature materials, demonstrating how Seabees can build combat-capability-specific infrastructure anywhere in the world.
“We showed the capability of expeditionary bases, especially in this case, because we are able to put bunkers in different places,” says Builder 1st Class Nathaniel Mitchell, assistant officer in charge and project manager for the watchtower. of Poseidon on Irisuna. “The biggest takeaway is the fact that we can be pushed forward, deployed anywhere, and still mind our business when we need it.
The Poseidon Watchtower was a pioneering exercise for the Seabees and Marines as it showcased the maritime services’ ability to meet expeditionary needs, especially in locations far from the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
NMCB-4, based in Port Hueneme, Calif., is forward deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific region, ready to provide engineering solutions and the construction of expeditionary facilities and forward naval bases to commanders of naval and joint forces.