MANZANARES, Spain (NNS) -- A 20-Seabee detail from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 joined Combined Task Force 68 (CTF 68) and Army 7th Civil Support Command (7th CSC) to participate in the Spanish military emergency unit Unidad Military de Emergencias (UME) disaster response exercise, March 13.
UME was formed in 2007 and started the annual Gamma-series exercises in 2011, making Daimiel 2015 their fifth large-scale disaster exercise.
This year's scenario consisted of a petrol chemical plant accident in Daimiel, Spain, leading to an industrial fire, oil spill, citizen evacuation, and contamination cleanup. With over 4,000 participants, it was UME's largest exercise to date.
When the UME invited U.S. participation, U.S. Armed Forces Europe created Task Force Foreign Consequence Management (TF-FCM). Army personnel from 7th CSC provided contamination surveying and clean up, medical, and civil affairs support. Navy personnel from CTF-68, including Seabees from NMCB-11, performed command and control to receive assistance requests and coordinate response logistics. pecial Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SP-MAGTF) Crisis Response - Africa, based in Morn, Spain, provided aerial logistics support.
Sixteen Seabees transported TF-FCM equipment from Rota, Spain, to Manzanares in a vehicle convoy across 463 kilometers (288 miles). City traffic had to be halted multiple times to allow large tractor trailers to maneuver through the narrow European streets, requiring all movements to be escorted by Spanish military or local police. Steep climbs on the route slowed the heavy loads.
"We gave it all the power we could when travelling up hills and went from 55 mph to almost 13 mph, but we made it," said Equipment Operator 3rd Class Benjamin Dixon.
The other four NMCB-11 personnel worked in the Joint Operations Center (JOC) in 24-hour command and control operations. As a communicator, Construction Electrician Constructionman Maxwell Mandock's job was to transmit and receive messages from all participating units.
"It was definitely a learning experience on a wider range of communication equipment than is normally utilized in [a Seabees] battalion," Mandock said.
As a further challenge, most exercise communications were in Spanish.
French and Moroccan military also participated in the exercise, with observers attending from Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina. U.S. forces worked alongside their Spanish UME counterparts throughout the week. The Seabees lived in temporary berthing set up by UME, with cots double and triple stacked in a local gymnasium to provide over 500 beds.
"Leading Seabees is always rewarding, but being able to do it while in a joint service and multi-national environment is truly rewarding," Chief Petty Officer Timothy Dry said of the operation. "Seabees were able to display several of our mission capabilities at Daimiel, while observing, learning, and partnering with other NATO countries on a tactical level."
After operations concluded, Colonel Castellanos, deputy commander of the 7th CSC, presented an Army Achievement Medal to Equipment Operator Constructionman Donald Hanson and a command coin to Electronics Technician 2nd Class Hugo Torres for their performance during the exercise.
NMCB-11 is a Naval Construction Force battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance. The battalion's homeport is in Gulfport, Mississippi. NMCB-11 is currently forward deployed to multiple locations in support of U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Pacific Command areas of responsibility.
For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb11/.