On September 17, 1943, the original Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) 133 was commissioned at Camp Perry, Williamsburg, Virginia. After seven months training at Davisville, Rhode Island; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Port Hueneme, California, NCB One-Thirty-Three was ready for action.
The battalion adopted the Kangaroo as its symbolic mascot and "Kangaroo Can Do" as its slogan because the first scheduled deployment was to be to Australia. However, change being inevitable, Naval Air Station, Honolulu, became the first deployment site. One-Thirty-Three was tasked with expanding and improving the air station. The work involved raising the level of the airfield and building seaplane docks, fuel tanks and buildings. The finished airfield became one of the largest and busiest in the Pacific Theater.
The invasion of Iwo Jima began February 19, 1945. NCB 133 accompanied the invasion force, with two taskings: to secure the beaches after the first assault troops went ashore and to serve as the shore party maintaining supply lines to the Marines on the forward battle lines. After the invasion began, NCB 133 was tasked with repairing the island’s three bombed-out Japanese airstrips, which were needed as soon as possible for use by Allied bombers. The Kangaroos were ashore by 4 p.m. on D-Day. Although the initial landing was relatively easy, the Japanese held their first line of defense and delivered murderous fire from their guns high on Mount Suribachi, and the entire beach was covered by mortar, artillery and machine-gun fire from the surrounding hills. The Seabees were in a position even more precarious than the Marines on the front lines; but they took what the enemy threw at them, and carried on the job of establishing and operating supply lines to the fighting men. When the Marines captured the first airstrip, the runway was sufficiently repaired to be used by light observation planes. On the same day, the order came to begin rehabilitating the second airstrip, which was to become the longest in the Western Theater.
After the first weeks, work went on day and night on the two airstrips. Until then, Japanese resistance had prevented the men from working after dark. The battalion encountered sniper fire and mortar attack until, and even after, the island was declared secure on March 15. During the 26 day battle for Iwo Jima, 133rd NCB suffered 245 casualties, with 3 officers and 39 enlisted killed in action and 12 officers and 191 enlisted wounded in action. This was the highest number of casualties of any Seabee unit in history.
In the five month period the battalion spent on Iwo Jima, over 100,000 tons of rock was crushed, over a million cubic yards of earth moved, 5,900 feet of drainpipe was laid, 4,000 feet of conduit was installed and 725 cubic yards of concrete was placed. As the war drew to an end, the battalion finished its work on Iwo Jima. The Kangaroo Battalion had sustained more casualties during their participation than any other construction battalion. The battalion was presented the Navy Unit Commendation for its part in the battle of Iwo Jima. Shortly thereafter, in December of 1945, with the general reduction in military strength following the end of World War II, NCB 133 was decommissioned.
On August 12, 1966, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 was re-commissioned in ceremonies aboard the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. With Commander Edward H. Marsh at the helm as Commanding Officer, another proud and quality construction-filled chapter began for the battalion.
Upon completing military training in the fall and winter of 1966, the Battalion deployed to Da Nang, Vietnam. During their first deployment to Vietnam, projects for the Battalion ranged from construction of the second increment of a prisoner-of-war camp to building a staging area at Observation Point for rock being hauled to the Marble Mountain tank farm. NMCB 133 received its second Navy Unit Commendation for support of friendly forces during its deployment to Vietnam while attached to the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment.
Phu Bai was the site of the Battalion’s second Vietnam deployment in 1968 . The major project at Phu Bai was the monumental task of overlaying the Hue-Phu Bai airstrip with over 10,000 individual sheets of matting.
A third deployment was made to Vietnam in 1969. The Kangaroos were based at Camp Wilkinson, part of the Camp Eagle complex, about six miles southeast of Hue, the country’s ancient imperial capitol. One of the major projects was the reconstruction of the 286-foot center span on the main highway bridge at Hue, badly damaged during the 1968 TET Offensive. The most extensive project undertaken by the Kangaroo Battalion was the upgrading and maintenance of some 70 miles of paved highway. They were also tasked with extending 96 culverts and repairing dozens of bridges.
With the Vietnam conflict winding down, NMCB 133 began a deployment of firsts. The deployment, which started the saying, "the sun never sets on 133", began with assignment to Guam, with dets at Bien Hoa, Vietnam, the Azores and the Aleutian Islands chain in Alaska.
Another deployment of firsts followed when NMCB 133 was assigned to Okinawa in 1972 as the first Atlantic battalion to serve as the Pacific Alert Battalion. Details spread over the entire Pacific Theater from Iwakuni, Japan to Oahu, Hawaii to Bien Hoa Province, Vietnam down to Subic Bay, Philippines.
NMCB 133 enjoyed its final "deployment of firsts" when it deployed to Europe in November of 1972. With the main body in Rota, Spain, details were assigned to Todendorf, Germany; Naples, Italy; Nea Makri, Greece; Souda Bay, Crete and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. On Diego, Detail Chagos assisted in building the single largest project in Naval Construction Forces history, Reindeer Communication Station.
The battalion returned to Okinawa for a deployment in February 1974. Details journeyed to the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. A hanger facility at Cubi Point Naval Air Station in the Philippines was completed within 100 days by a detail from the battalion. The deployment to Okinawa was marred by great tragedy when Captain Thomas J. Mitchell, Commander of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment; Commander Leland R. Dobler, NMCB 133’s Commanding Officer and Lieutenant Charles H. Jeffries, the Philippines Detail Officer-in-Charge were killed in an ambush by unknown assailants while inspecting the E-S Boundary Road project at Naval Base Subic Bay. Work on the project was halted for one week while the area was secured with the installation of additional security and radios. The project was then started back up and continued on schedule. LCDR Bruce L. MacCall, the battalion’s Executive Officer, was temporarily assigned as the Commanding Officer. On June 8, 1974 CDR Richard A. Lowery was appointed the new Commanding Officer of the Kangaroos. The Okinawa deployment was completed and the battalion headed home to Gulfport on September 17th.
In June 1976, the Kangroos arrived on Diego Garcia, marking the first time since the Vietnam conflict that the battalion deployed as a complete unit. The major construction effort on Diego Garcia was the extension of the existing airfield and expansion of the parking apron. Twice during the deployment, in August and again in November, battalion personnel had to help in the off-loading and back-loading of the supply ship SS TRANSCOLORADO. During the November visit, NMCB 133 set records in both off-load and back-load of 3,627 and 477 tons respectively.
In November 1979, the Kangroos deployed to Diego Garcia. The battalion began work at a scorching pace with projects like the Air Force Ammunition Storage Facility; the Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants pumphouse; BEQs 9, 10, and 11; BOQs 4 and 5; and the Navy High Explosives Facility. Other projects included the Air Operations Reclosure Building, Alfa Company shops rehabilitation and the Pier Causeway Project. On top of the regular work, the Navy Supply Ship USNS BRONSTROM arrived on November 29th and uploading procedures started on the same day.
The battalion was chosen Best of Type in the Atlantic Fleet for Fiscal Year (FY) 1980 for their labors in Diego Garcia. The Kangroos went on to win the coveted Peltier Award, symbolic of the best Seabee battalion the Naval Construction Force. In a ceremony conducted on May 21, 1981, Captain Herbert H. Lewis, Commanding Officer of NMCB 133, accepted the Peltier Award on behalf of the entire battalion. The winning of the Peltier Award was to be repeated to historical proportions by the battalion during the 1980’s.
Moving into Europe in March 1982, NMCB 133 hit the ground running and did not stop until the deployment’s final day. In Rota, Spain, 27 projects were undertaken and 24 were completed. The two biggest projects were the Naval Station Overhead Electrical Distribution Project and the Camp Mitchell Monument/Camp Improvement Project. Details at Sigonella Sicily; Nea Makri, Greece; Souda Bay, Crete; and Holy Loch, Scotland also completed major taskings.
Not long after the battalion returned home from Europe, they began to reap well deserved awards. On November 12, 1982, NMCB 133 was presented with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Force Best of Type Battle "E" Award and the Excellence in Retention Award for FY 1982. In February 1983, the Kangroos received the Peltier Award for their fiscal year 1982 performance. The battalion’s deployment to Europe was described as one of the best ever.
On June 15, 1983, while the battalion was deployed to Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, Camp Moscrip was the site for a historic change of command. Captain Dorwin C. Black was relieved by CDR Andrew A. Kannegieser as Commanding Officer of NMCB 133. CDR Kannegieser became the first Limited Duty Officer (LDO) to command a battalion in Naval Construction Force history.
The Kangroos returned to Gulfport in October 1983. In November, the battalion, was selected as the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Force Best of Type Battle "E" winner for FY 1983, marking the second straight year the battalion received this honor. Captain James B. Caughman Jr., Commander, Construction Battalions, U. S. Atlantic Fleet (COMCBLANT), presented the award to the battalion in ceremonies on December 10.
During the homeport period, NMCB 133 again won the Retention Award and the homeport Marksmanship Trophy, once more capping it all off by being named recipient of the Peltier Award for exceptional performance. On March 9, 1984 Rear Admiral William M. Zobel Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Chief of Civil Engineers, presented this coveted award to the Kangroos for their FY 1983 performance.
In May 1984, the battalion headed off to the deployment site of Okinawa, Japan. Detail sites were located at Sasebo; Iwakuni; Yokosuka; Adak, Alaska; and Yap Island. With the "Orient Express" in full gear, the men began work on many challenging projects. Most notable were the Futenma Taxiway project, the largest asphalt job taken on in recent years by any Seabee battalion; the Kinser Roof Project, where over 81,000 feet of roof was installed; and the White Beach Baseball Field Project, which called for the installation of 60-feet tall concrete light poles. By the deployment’s end, there was hardly a camp on the island of Okinawa which had not benefited in some way from the Kangroos’ expertise.
On October 20, 1984, CDR Kannegieser received word from Captain Caughman of COMCBLANT that the battalion again won the Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Force’s Best of Type Battle "E" Award for FY 1984. By winning the award, the Kangroos put their name in Naval Construction Force history books, becoming the first battalion ever to win three consecutive Battle "E" Awards. It also marked the battalion’s fourth "E" in five years. The award was presented to the battalion on January 9, 1985 following their return to Gulfport.
The homeport period was another one of awards, with the battalion winning the annual Golden Anchor Award for excellence in retention. On May 31, 1985, the battalion was presented with their third Peltier Award in three years, another historic event for the Naval Construction Force. In commending the battalion and summing up their selection for the Peltier Award, CDR Andrew A. Kannegeiser said, "It’s been pure balance across the battalion. Your dedication to the mission, your ability to stumble occasionally and then recover with added strength, and the pride you have in our battalion has paid off once again." CDR Kannegieser was himself to become the recipient of a personal honor when he became the first LDO in the Civil Engineer Corps to attain the rank of Captain.
In April 1986, NMCB 133 was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in construction and training operations from 1 January 1982 to 31 December 1985. The battalion also won the CBLANT Marksmanship Trophy for the 1984/85 training cycle for excellence in pistol and rifle qualifications. This was the fifth consecutive year NMCB 133 earned the trophy.
Following a deployment to the Caribbean, the Kangroos were selected as the Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Force’s Best of Type Battle “E” winner for FY 1986. This was NMCB 133’s fifth Battle "E" in seven years.
The battalion was again named the Atlantic Fleet’s Best of Type mobile construction battalion for FY 1988, its sixth award in nine years. During the 1988 homeport, NMCB 133 renovated a lighthouse beacon, created a parking lot for an area elementary school and placed high water marks on poles throughout the Long Beach, Mississippi area. The battalion also performed in a superior fashion on contingency camp, Bailey bridge, and water tower building exercises. Finally, NMCB 133 was named recipient of the Peltier Award for FY 1988.
NMCB 133 deployed to Camp Mitchell, Rota, Spain from March to October 1991 with details deployed to Sigonella, Sicily; Souda Bay, Crete; Edzell and Holy Loch, Scotland; Thurmont, MD; and Moron, Spain. A 45-man detail deployed early to Moron, Spain in February to help NMCB 1 build two ammunition storage areas and surrounding berms in support of the Gulf War.
After a month in Spain, the Battalion re-deployed to Sikh, Iraq from April to June for Operation Provide Comfort. The Battalion proved its operational readiness by mounting out the Air Det and then loading main body equipment aboard a Norwegian cargo ship bound for Iskenderum, Turkey. The 400-mile personnel and equipment convoy from Iskenderum to Zakho, Iraq was the longest inland convoy operation conducted by a Seabee battalion since the Vietnam War.
During their 1992 deployment to Guam, Typhoon "Omar" passed directly over the island with winds gusting at approximately 150 miles per hour. Although thorough preparations spared Camp Covington significant damage, the island itself suffered its worst devastation 15 years. Within hours of the typhoon’s passing, the Kangroos of NMCB 133 were involved with disaster recovery efforts throughout the island. All routine tasking was put on hold as NMCB 133, augmented by tailored Air Dets from NMCB 40 in Port Hueneme and NMCB 7 in Okinawa, worked around the clock assisting in water distribution, restoration of power, rebuilding heavily damaged schools, and erection of a large tent city at the Fleet Hospital site to house hundreds of homeless.
NMCB 133 was awarded the Battle "E" for FY 1992 Best of Type in the Atlantic Fleet in October. Later they were named recipient of the Peltier Award for FY 1992.
In July 1993, the battalion deployed to Rota, Spain to begin their European deployment. Their 33,000 mandays of work resulted in a new NEX Gas Station/Convenience Store at Edzell, Scotland; NEX Mini-Mall at Sigonella, Sicily; renovation of the Carney Park buildings at Naples Italy; and dramatic improvement of the facilities at NSA Souda Bay. Added to this list was their construction of much needed infrastructure improvements in Turkey, Ghana, and Senegal. Quality and productivity were so impressive the Secretary of the Navy, during a visit, awarded 24 Navy Achievement Medals on the spot.
In December 1995 the Kangaroos deployed to Spain and soon found themselves deploying to the former Yugoslavia in support of operation "Joint Endeavor". An Air Det Heavy of approximately 200 Seabees was sent to build base camps for the Army in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and to renovate the NATO Commander’s facilities in Sarajevo. The embark effort of Detail Juliet Echo included 1,120,000 pounds of cargo, 64 pieces of Civil Engineer Support Equipment (CESE) flown on five C-17 and fifteen C-141 aircraft. Led by the Operations Officer, Detail Juliet Echo endured intense cold, rain and mud to build camps to support the troops of the US Army’s 16th Corps Support Group in Croatia and the First Armored Division’s Ready First Combat Team in Bosnia. This record setting deployment included successful details to Africa, Crete, Sicily, Italy, Great Britain, and Camp David and earned the Kangaroos the Battle "E" and the Navy Unit Commendation for FY 1995. This was the first NUC given to 133 for a peace time mission. NMCB 133 was awarded the pistol marksmanship trophy for FY 1995.
In the final days of their 1997 deployment in Guam, the Roo’s disaster recovery skills were put to the test when Korean Air Lines (KAL) Flight 801 crashed on final approach to the Guam International Airport. NMCB 133 personnel were among the first to arrive on the scene and begin the rescue operation. An access road was build into the crash site by 133 to facilitate the rescue and recovery efforts. NMCB 40 arrived about three days after the crash, for about a week thereafter, during turn-over, the search for bodies and crash disassembly continued as a joint NMCB 133/40 operation. NMCB 133 continued to work on the site until a day before our departure, approximately 18 August.
In mid-November of 2001, the call came for the battalion to provide direct support for Operation Enduring Freedom and an Air Det Heavy was stood up as U.S. Marine led coalition force for offensive operations in Afghanistan. Organized under Brigadier General Mattis, the 1st MEB commander out of Pendleton, the Air Det Heavy went in country on 28 November as Task Force 58.5 with the Operations Officer as the Air Det Heavy OIC being a direct report to the commanding general.
On January 2003, the Roos were originally scheduled to deploy to Rota, Spain, but responded to execution orders in support of Operations ENDURING AND IRAQI FREEDOM in Southwest Asia. NMCB 133 fell under the operational control of Task Force Charlie. The highlights of the Battalion’s construction efforts during this deployment were numerous. During the initial days of the war, the Battalion constructed a 14,000 person Enemy Prisoner of War holding facility in under 96 hours despite a severe sandstorm. Additionally, at Zubaydiyah, integrating support from five other NCF and military units, the Seabees constructed a 210 meter pontoon bridge over the Tigris River, the longest Seabee pontoon bridge since World War II. The bridge was completed in less than two weeks with Zero lost work mishaps.
NMCB 133 also completed various humanitarian projects. The impact of rehabilitating the British World War I cemetery that was home to soldiers who had fallen in combat with the Turks in the Mesopotamian conflict (1914-1918) and renovating multiple schools deeply touched the hearts of the people of Iraq.
Along with the construction elements, NMCB 133 conducted all operations in a field environment including the deployment of a Seabee Engineer Reconnaissance Team (SERT) for the first time in history.
In addition to main body operations in Southwest Asia, NMCB 133 was designated as the Joint Task Force Commander for New Horizons 2003, a Deployment for Training to the Dominican Republic. Towards the middle of the deployment, NMCB 133 also sent detachments to Andros Island and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
For all the outstanding efforts, the battalion was again awarded the Peltier Award in May 2003. On 21 June 2003 Commander Doug Morton was relieved by Commander Jeffrey Borowy. The battalion continued its successful operations from retrograding five NCF TOAs involving over 1,600 pieces of CESE to enhancing the 1,100 man tent camp at Camp Moreell, Kuwait. With all assigned tasking accomplished, NMCB 133 returned to Gulfport on 15 August 2003.
In June 2004, NMCB 133 again answered the call to duty with a deployment to Asia and the Middle East. As the main body deployed to Camp Shields in Okinawa, Japan, det sites were taken over in San Clemente Island, Calif.; Chinhae and Pohang, Korea; Atsugi, Fuji, Sasebo and Iwakuni, Japan; Diego Garcia and a 60-person det was sent into operations in Iraq.
In May of 2005, Commander Jeff Borowy was relieved by Commander Allan Stratman as Commanding Officer of 133. Three months later, on August 29, Hurricane Katrina came barreling through the central Gulf Coast, taking with it many lives and causing catastrophic damage to the homes and businesses of countless residents. Within a day, the Seabees from the homeport Battalions of NMCB 1, 7, and 133 rushed out to clear roads so emergency workers could access hard hit areas.
In the ensuing weeks, 133 provided extensive humanitarian aid around the area including the critical repair of lift stations, the cleaning and repair of government buildings and schools and the distribution of food, water and clothing to local residents in need.
As these very important projects were going on, teams from the battalion were deployed to assist Seabees who were affected by Katrina. Thes "Tiger Teams" focused on stabilizing the homes of those who received moderate to severe damage. In all, over 230 homes were temporarily repaired thanks to their perseverance.
In the command, 118 out of 659 people either lost their homes entirely or had them damaged so badly they were unlivable. Those Seabees and their families either sought refuge in warehouses on base or with friends and family. With almost every Seabee in the battalion having faced hardships, some more difficult than others, the Runnin’ Roos of NMCB 133 were proud to have served the joint disaster relief effort and looked forward to serving their country overseas.
With the thought of Katrina still on their minds, the Roos deployed in November of 2005. NMCB 133 deployed to numerous sites throughout Southwest Asia, with additional detachments in Guam and Whidbey Island. In Iraq, the Runnin’ Roos of 133 supported Marines, Special Operating Forces and Iraqi Security Forces, earning themselves a resounding reputation for impeccable quality and an uncanny ability to meet deadlines that no one else could. Additionally, 133 ran critical convoy security missions all around western Iraq. The heroic members of these teams braved IEDs and small arms fire to ensure critical materials made it to their destination.
NMCB 133 spanned the globe for their 2007 deployment, covering four continents. The battalion worked in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) building schools in remote villages and making clean water available with several water well projects. A detachment assigned to "New Horizons" built schools in rural Belize. You could find the Bees' of 133 in Sao Tome, working in cooperation with Underwater Construction Team ONE (UCT 1) to rebuild the only boat launch available to the country’s Coast Guard.
Many of 133’s Seabees deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for the second time in February 2007, protecting their fellow Bees' on the frontline by up-armoring vehicles that were used for road construction projects in Iraq. Two detachments forward deployed into Iraq fortified base security and structures and cleared and leveled roads throughout dangerous territory. A small detail based in Kuwait worked on oil platforms ABOT and KAAOT in the Persian Gulf, restoring structural integrity and improving quality of life for Naval Mobile Security Detachment (MSD) 24, thereby aiding in fortification of the platform’s security.
In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Bees' of 133 built a temporary ferry landing, keeping maritime traffic moving smoothly while the original landing received much-needed repair. The Seabees also deployed to Andros Island, Rota, Spain, and Guatemala. Halfway through the deployment, NMCB 133 underwent a change of command, welcoming aboard the new Commanding Officer, CDR Paul J. Odenthal, and bidding fair winds and following seas to CDR Allan M. Stratman. The battalion made the transition seamlessly, and continued their exemplary work ethic, maintaining a high standard of safety and quality.
In June 2008, NMCB 133 deployed on a seven-month Pacific Command (PACOM) deployment. NMCB 133 Main Body deployed to Camp Shields, Okinawa with Details located at Guam, Singapore, Chinhae, Yokosuka, Sasebo, Philippines, and San Clemente Island. NMCB 133 also participated in the Civic Action Team mission in the Republic of Palau, the Pacific Partnership 2008 and Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises.
NMCB 133 began construction on a MWR warehouse and a CBR equipment storage facility at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan. The detachments and other missions manned by the Seabees were responsible for the rehabilitation of numerous school facilities in Southeast Asia.
nging running water back to a village in Kemaman, Malaysia was just one of the many important jobs the Roos completed while on deployment. They installed a pump at the village’s only public well that had been broken for more than three years, as the villagers had been unable to replace it. The Roos installed a new submersible pump more than 200 feet down into the well and renewable energy sources to power the pump. A 35 foot wind-powered turbine and a solar panel will provide power to the pump with no ongoing expense to the villagers. The systems will also provide power during blackouts.
Besides greatly increasing the quality of life for many communities and increasing the mission readiness of many military and government installations throughout Asia, the Seabees of NMCB 133 always took advantage of every opportunity to strengthen relationships with local communities through Community Relation projects (COMREL’s) and other events such as the Special Olympics.
With assigned tasking complete, NMCB 133 was relieved by NMCB 40 in January 2009 and redeployed to Gulfport, MS for a 15 month homeport and training cycle. In June of 2009, Command of the battalion was transferred from CDR Paul J. Odenthal to CDR Christopher M. Kurgan.
In March of 2010, the Battalion deployed over 600 Seabees from Gulfport, Mississippi to Afghanistan where they completed a very successful deployment in support of the 30,000 troop surge.
The Battalion was spread out at 25 sites across 25,000 square miles throughout the Central Command’s (CENTCOM) Area of Operation from March 2010 to July 2010.
NMCB 133 successfully set up a site on Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Afghanistan to be used as their mainbody site. The site consisted of nothing more than a bed of gravel when they arrived. The Seabees immediately flexed their construction muscles and had a fully operational Seabee Land within a month’s time. They constructed interior walls and ran electricity to an Army tent that they turned into their combat operations center.
NMCB 133’s mainbody also set up a supply yard for the staging of all construction materials that were pushed out to the details along with an Alfa yard for the maintenance and staging of all CESE. The Seabees at KAF also constructed a Southwest Asia Hut to be used as a Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center. An armory and weapons cleaning station were constructed on KAF as well.
The site was good-to-go when it was turned over to NMCB 40. Both Battalions served under the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment as part of Task Force Alliance while in Afghanistan.
Command Master Chief Christopher Sparks summed up the significance of the battalion’s historic efforts in Afghanistan: "his deployment truly defined the term ‘Can Do’ in my mind and the minds of many. From day one of the deployment the Bees' of 133 faced one challenge after another and never let it faze them. From the little things we take for granted on a normal deployment like tools, phones and office spaces to the larger things like materials and equipment, 133 met these challenges head on and conquered them."
In all, NMCB 133 executed over 41,000 project mandays consisting of a total of over 400 construction projects valued at $100 million, 1.6 million square meters of Forward Operating Base (FOB) expansions, ordered and moved over 10,000 tons of construction materials, and distributed 131 pieces of CESE valued at over $6 million throughout their Detail sites in Afghanistan.
NMCB 133’s Water Well Team was the second Detail to depart mainbody from KAF. They were tasked to drill an artesian water well at Command Outpost (COP) Toor Ghar, Afghanistan for the United States Marine Corps’ 1/3 Infantry Battalion. The team drilled 1,210 feet deep where they hit the aquifer. The well produces 60 gallons of water per minute. The well is known as an artesian well due to the fact that it doesn’t require a pump to push water to the surface. Their goal was to drill beyond the unconfined aquifer and produce approximately 25,000 gallons of water per day.
The drill rig was down and awaiting a replacement top head during turnover with NMCB 40, but the Water Well team successfully repaired the drill rig and finished drilling the well. The artesian well drilled by the Detail exceeded all requirements for water supply and was completed ahead of schedule. The well was an outstanding accomplishment for Toorghar allowing the Marines there to have showers every night which improved their morale. The well provided many great learning experiences for the Seabees and was NMCB 133’s first successful well to be drilled in 13 years.
Battalion’s Air Detail left KAF with 50 personnel to execute new projects at a FOB in Shindand, Afghanistan. The Detail finished running the electrical wire for two Southwest Asia (SWA) Huts and completed the construction of a helicopter landing pad. The Detail turned over a 120 acre Aluminum Marsden Matting (AM2) project along with a MEDEVAC helicopter pad project to the Airforce’s 809th Expeditionary Red Horse Squadron in May 2010 and returned to Mainbody for additional tasking.
The Battalion’s Detail Six provided contingency construction support to four COP’s in Afghanistan at Tarnak, Belandy, Dand District Center, and Walakan. The expansions were executed simultaneously at all four locations. Detail Six executed these tasks in order to support the Army’s 1-71 Cavalry.
The Battalion personnel at COP Tarnak constructed tents with wood floors, electrical distribution, general site work, protective berms and eight crow’s nest observation towers.
The Battalion personnel at COP’s Belandy and Dand District Center constructed tents with wood floors to be used as living quarters, shower units, and dining facilities. They also constructed a fuel storage facility.
The Battalion personnel at COP Walakan completed expansion work, tents with wood floors, the Tactical Operations Center floor, and electrical distribution projects
The Battalion’s Detail Five set out for FOB Wilson with 40 personnel and was later increased to 102 personnel, making it the second largest NMCB 133 Detail. The Detail’s tasking continued to grow throughout the deployment as the Army’s 2/101 Brigade Headquarters moved to FOB Wilson. NMCB 40’s Air Detail deployed 34 personnel to augment 133’s Detail Five at FOB Wilson. The projects executed at Wilson included the expansion of the perimeter, two super SWA Huts, numerous concrete pads for maintenance areas and crow’s nest observation towers, a helicopter landing zone expansion, and multiple tents for troop living quarters.
The Battalion’s Detail Wolverine completed the expansion of FOB Wolverine’s perimeter along with 2000 meters of protective berms and seven crow’s nest observation towers.
The Battalion’s Detail Jelawur was the seventh Detail established from Mainbody. The projects executed at Jelawur included the expansion of the perimeter, tents for troop living quarters, a SWA Hut, a helicopter landing zone and a vehicle maintenance area expansion for the Army’s 105th Engineering Battalion and 2/101 Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The Battalion’s Detail at FOB Walton was established with the Air Detail personnel who returned from FOB Shindand. The Detail was tasked with the expansion of the FOB’s perimeter. Other taskings included the erection of tents for troop living quarters. These projects also provided operational staging areas for the Army’s 864th Engineering Battalion and Task Force Two Fury to conduct missions inside Kandahar City, Afghanistan.
The Battalion’s personnel at Camp Nathan Smith completed the construction of four Tactical Operations Centers (TOC’s), the expansion of the camp’s perimeter, erecting tents for troop living quarters, and the relocation of the Camp’s fuel point and firing range. The four TOC’s were constructed inside of an abandoned cannery for use by the Army’s 4 Brigade Combat Team /82nd Airborne Division to be used for planning and coordinating operations. These projects greatly increased the Army’s ability to conduct operations in Kandahar City, Afghanistan.
The Battalion had personnel at sites throughout the country that could not be discussed due to the sensitivity of the information. These personnel proudly completed their many missions and received the gratitude of those units they supported.
The many construction projects accomplished by the Battalion will continue to enable the resident units to have a stronger presence throughout Afghanistan.
"NMCB 133 could not have picked a more monumental time to be deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. All of the forward operating base and combat outpost expansions that were built by our Seabees ensured Presidential directed ‘Surge’ forces had the life support facilities and staging platforms to launch Hamkari Baraye Kandahar and make 2010 a decisive year in countering the insurgency," said CDR Kurgan.
In October 2010, NMCB 133 once again received the Atlantic Fleet Best of Type Battle "E" award.