COVID poses challenges for Seabee battalions deployed to Guam

SANTA RITA, Guam (June 26, 2020) Equipment Operator 2nd Class Alexander Young, from Katy, Texas, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3, and Equipment Operator 2nd Class Alex Taschner, from Palmdale, Calif., assigned to NMCB-5, tour the asphalt batch plant on board Naval Base Guam as part of a relief in place/transfer of authority from NMCB-5 to NMCB-3. NMCB-3 is deployed across the Indo-Pacific region conducting high-quality construction to support U.S. and partner nations to strengthen partnerships, deter aggression, and enable expeditionary logistics and naval power projection. The battalion stands ready to complete assigned tasking, support Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief and Major Combat Operations throughout the area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Equipment Operator 2nd Class Monica Cervantes/Released)

(DIVIDS) – Difficulties posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are not lost on the U.S. Navy Seabees in Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-3 who recently arrived on Guam. But their commanders are confident NMCB-3’s Seabees can still achieve mission success.

“Being the relief in place battalion during COVID-19 has its difficulties,” said Lt. Phillip Moncayo, NMCB-3’s Detail Guam officer-in-charge.

“I believe the most challenging aspect about our deployment will be how we handle and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining a COVID-19 free workforce,” said Moncayo.

“There are many unique challenges with leading Detail Guam,” said Moncayo but “by maintaining our expectations of all our Seabees, we can be safe while carrying out our primary mission.”

Builder 1st Class William Corrigan, a project supervisor assigned to NMCB-3’s Detail Guam, said safety throughout this deployment is his number one priority.

He will be overseeing three projects:

  • The completion of an explosive ordnance disposal storage facility;

  • Installation of new sidewalks; and

  • Completion of a U.S. Coast Guard pavilion.

NMCB-3 will work with the U.S. Air force’s 554th Red Horse squadron.

“My overall goal this deployment is to finish the projects in a safe manner, completing the projects with quality work and to continue the legacy of Seabees in the Pacific,” said Corrigan.

NMCB-3 completed its first 14-day restriction of movement (ROM) period in the states prior to their deployment to Guam.

They went through another quarantine period upon arrival on island after which NMCB-3 was ready to begin their mission.

The Seabees from NMCB-3 relieved NMCB-5 on June 29.

While they were here, NMCB-5, along with NMCB-1, erected a mobile field hospital in South Finegayan, which they subsequently dismantled ahead of typhoon season and moved to a more secure structure at Camp Covington on Naval Base Guam.

NMCB-5’s departure was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic which complicated efforts to relieve them because of the stringent local, national, and international protective travel restrictions that were initiated in March.

The travel restrictions were revisited in late May allowing NMCB-3 to deploy to Guam.

[By Equipment Operator 2nd Class Monica Cervantes, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, Detail Guam Public Affairs]