U.S. Naval Reserve Seabees Swarm Westover for Joint Training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stephen Underwood
  • 439th Airlift Wing

When you need to get things done, you call a Seabee. 

Members of the Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 27, better known as Naval Reserve Seabees, have been busy working on construction projects around Westover. 

The battalion had originally been stationed at Westover in 2010 but moved to the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Miss., in 2014. 

Seabees provide a wide range of engineering in support of operating forces including roads, bridges, bunkers, airfields, buildings and logistics. The Seabee nickname is used as a moniker for the initial letters "CB" from the words "Construction Battalion.” 

Officially designated “Seabees” on March 5, 1942, the group lives up to its motto “we build, we fight” through its emblem of a bee in Navy uniform carrying construction tools and a machine gun.  

The group of 54 Seabees from region north decided to do their Unit Driven Training (UDT) on base here instead of flying down to Mississippi since many of its members live in the local area.

“This allows us to maintain our skills and continue invaluable training close to home,” said Lt. j.g. Jessica Rospendowski, officer in charge. “Twenty-six of our Seabees are part of the group actually doing construction on base with the rest of our members being officers or in other official capacities.” 

Among the projects members will complete at Westover, Seabees will be replacing the Operations Group Headquarters sign and replacing Building 1100’s 78 aging windows. 

“No job is too big for a Seabee,” said Rospendowski. “You give us a challenge and we get it done.” 

Westover has partnered with members to allow them to do their training here on base. 

“Many of our members are on inactive duty travel orders, therefore they are able to reschedule their drills and come here instead for training,” said Rospendowski. “Being here offers us a wide variety of projects for our members to get varying types of skills they wouldn’t get on regular drill weekends.” 

One of the future trainings the Seabees are scheduled to take part in is rapid airfield damage repair training with planned demolition of part of the runway. The Seabees will be responsible for repairing part of the runway in a timely fashion to simulate a real world exercise. 

“When we do have rapid airfield training it’s usually a little section that’s non-realistic,” said Builder Chief Petty Officer Jennifer DePalo, assistant officer in charge. “So being able to take part in a more realistic exercise is what will make us prepared for the real thing. It’s great for our members that we’re able to come out here and get this training.” 

The NMCB-27 is located at Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. The battalion provides general engineering in support of U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and joint operations forces; conducts defensive combat, provides humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery operations. In 2017, NMCB-27 was the recipient of the Rear Adm. Perry and Battle Efficiency "Battle E" awards.