Working Iron Blog

Training for the toughest of convoy conditions

So you think trucking out on the rainy and snowy highways is tough duty? Then you ought to talk with the Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, based out of Gulfport, MS. They train for convoy situations most truckers would try to avoid.

Just as a point of reference: for those who don’t know, the word "Seabee" comes from initials "CB" which in turn comes from the term Construction Battalions.

And in this particular case, NMCB-11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance

Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Brittney Ebbert chronicled the 22 days some 44 Seabees from NMCB 11 spent in what’s called Convoy Security Element (CSE) training at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, MS.

The training, a prerequisite for the unit’s readiness and deployment, reinforced the unit’s “combat mindset” and “tactical proficiency” when moving through potentially hostile urban environments, breaching buildings, spotting IED [improvised explosive device] indicators, as well as sharpen their shooting and communication skills in situations which encompass (and here’s the understatement of the year) “elevated levels” of stress.

"This is actually very strenuous training; the most rigorous in their pipeline," noted Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Sowell, operations officer for NMCB 11.

He noted that unit safety is crucial under fire, which is why precise communication – both internally and externally – is vital during “elevated stress” scenarios.

“Communication is very important to in the effective execution of any mission, [and] CSE operations are no different,” LCDR Sowell explained.

The Seabees – officially known as the “Naval Construction Force” – are a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy as they offer units capable of providing multifaceted forms of support – construction capability, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance, as well as support for combat operations.

It’s certainly not your average convoy job, that’s for sure.

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