Family and friends welcomed home about 140 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 who returned home Tuesday from an eight-month deployment in Europe and Africa.
The Seabees returning are the last to return from NMCB 74’s main body that deployed to Rota, Spain, in support of EUCOM/AFRICOM operations on Dec. 15, 2010, as well as two smaller details that re-deployed to Italy and Senegal.These Seabees constructed and/or renovated schools, tent camps and completed several base facility improvements around Naval Air Station, Rota.
Navy Capt. Martin Beck, Commander, Task Force 68 at Naval Station Rota said: “It’s been a pleasure having NMCB 74 on deck for the last six months. You have made an awful lot of contributions to Europe and Africa and you have something to be proud of, something to take back home with you.”
Cmdr. Richard Hayes, commanding officer NMCB 74, said, "When we started this deployment, I put out a mission to you all to further the reputation of the battalion. You’ve exceeded that, you’ve enhanced the legacy of all Seabees."“From the president of Croatia to the Chief of Naval Operations and all the ambassadors and admirals we supported, they have all had great things to say about the hard work you’ve done.”
Some of main body’s Alfa company projects included a 150-foot of chain link fence to close a critical security gap at the NAVSTA Rota airfield and to grade, compact, and pave some key roads.
One of the roads allowed fuel trucks access to fuel pipes to deposit or collect fuel essential to the Spanish Navy’s operations. The crane crew have had a total of 52 crane lifts without any mishaps, including the hoisting of an EP-3 Orion aircraft turbine to facilitate a swap out of two $6.4 billion engines by the squadron’s air crew.
Some of main body’s Bravo company projects include a 9-foot high, three-section fence with 20 x 90-foot length, with six gates, 1,000 linear feet of fencing for an airfield fence project and two bus stop facilities on NAVSTA Rota, with whitewash stucco siding and red Spanish-style roofing.
Detail Sigonella deployed to Naval Air Station Sigonella aboard High Speed Vessel 2 Swift on May 20, 2011, in support of Operation Unified Protector on short notice. The 27-man detail cleared, grubbed and laid 3,400 cubic meters of select fill to prepare a four-acre field for a 550-man tent camp.
With the site prepared, the detachment worked hand-in-hand with the U.S. Air Force to help set up the actual tent camp. Detachment Sigonella was tasked with the daily operations in camp maintenance and overseeing general camp improvements including power and water distribution.
The Seabees also completed a drainage project on base that saved the Navy more than $500,000 in contract work.
Detail Senegal deployed in the final three months of NMCB 74’s deployment to Dakar, Senegal, in direct support of the U.S. Embassy to renovate the first floor of a Maritime Domain Awareness Operations center located on the downtown Senegalese Naval Base.
The project consisted of full renovations to 11 interior rooms of an existing two-story masonry structure and a technical upgrade to the data communication capabilities. The ops center required a small watch floor for eight to 12 watch standers, a three-stall head, a bunkroom for two personnel, a small break room, four offices, an administration open office and a conference room.
The result was a state-of-the-art working area for U.S. and Senegalese forces to use during future joint exercises that take place within the vicinity.