Fort McCoy News September 26, 2014

NMCB-25 relocation ends 18 years at Fort McCoy

The mission for the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB)-25 at Fort McCoy is coming to an end.

Lt. Cmdr. David Platz, the NMCB-25 executive officer, said the organization has received orders to relocate to Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif.

Photo for NMCB article
U.S. Navy Seabee, Chief Builder Michael Ludwig, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NCMB)-25, Task Force Ultimus, works at attaching a rope stage sling with a swivel hook and screw pin anchor shackle to a concrete jersey barrier as part of a force-protection mission to assist the Afghan National Security Forces in Kabul, Afghanistan. In a project identified by U.S. Central Command, the Seabees worked to increase the stand-off distance between vehicles and personnel using the concrete barriers. NMCB-25, part of the U.S. Navy Reserves, will relocate from Fort McCoy, Wis., to Port Hueneme, Calif. Photo by Capt. Leslie Reed

A number of Seabees attached to the unit also have been issued mobilization orders and continue to serve overseas to support the drawdown of the U.S. mission in Operation Enduring Freedom.

The unit has been operating in Afghanistan since April 2014. Seabees are construction personnel who have the mission to build both horizontally and vertically.

NMCB-25 relocated to Fort McCoy in August 1995 as the result of a Base Realignment and Closure Action that closed its location at Glenview, Ill. The organization occupied World War II-era buildings in the installation's 1700 block as its temporary headquarters until it moved into a new facility in the 2800 block in 2001.

Navy officials decided to consolidate Seabee training and assets at Gulfport, Miss., and Port Hueneme, Calif., because of the current budgetary climate in the Department of Defense, Platz said.

The organization is going from nine to six active battalions and from 12 to five Reserve battalions.

"We'll do unit-level training at Port Hueneme, while units located in the eastern part of the U.S. will train at Gulfport," he said. "This will allow all the training to be done in one location and be standardized so it is consistent among all Seabees."

Currently, units aligned with NMCB-25 are located in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, with the Fort McCoy location serving as the battalion headquarters. NMCB-25 battalions and detachments will be located in Missouri, Illinois (battalion headquarters), Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio after the realignment.

"As we conduct our deployment and begin our transition to Port Hueneme, the personnel here now will leave as they are due to rotate out," Platz said.

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Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-25 learn to measure and mark equipment to prepare it to be shipped for deployment during training at Fort McCoy in 2010. File photo

"We will take some of our equipment along, and also will turn in surplus equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services."

The current exit date from Fort McCoy is the end of September. The final shipments of Navy equipment took place Sept. 22.

Platz said NMCB-25 leaves behind a big legacy at Fort McCoy. The organization contributed heavily to the installation's Troop Projects program, which allowed military units, generally engineers, to build needed infrastructure at Fort McCoy. The program was a win-win proposition as it saved the installation funding, while providing valuable training to the units in their military occupational specialties.

During the years, Seabees helped construct a number of facilities, including a nuclear, biological and chemical support facility to serve the ranges, parking lots and roads. The latest project was to remove a retaining wall, add beach sand to the Squaw Lake beach area and to begin the foundation for the installation of an additional storage unit for recreation equipment at the Pine View Campground.

The unit will remove its signature Fighting Seabee display from in front of its current battalion headquarters and take it along to California, Platz said.

The Reserve Forces Policy Board recognized NMCB-25 with the 2014 Citizen Patriot Unit Award Sept. 10.

The battalion is proud to have been selected as one of 22 units nominated from across the Reserve and National Guard on behalf of the entire Naval Construction Force, said NMCB-25 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Jennifer Donahue.

"I am extremely proud that NMCB-25 has been recognized by the Reserve Forces Policy Board Fellow Society with the 2014 Citizen Patriot Unit Award," Donahue said. "The 'Spades and Clubs' has had a sustained history of superior performance and service in support of our nation's security as evidenced by four unit mobilizations since the inception of GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) operations, continuing a strong legacy of support stretching back to World War II.

"The battalion's performance during 2014 has been outstanding as demonstrated through the challenges of mobilizing 428 reservists, then organizing and integrating the mosaic of citizen Sailors from across the nation to become a single battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom," Donahue said. "As we transition toward successful deployment completion and demobilization, Seabee 'can do' spirit of the 'Spades and Clubs' of NMCB-two-five continues to be strong."

(NMCB-25 and Fort McCoy Public Affairs contributed to this story.)