Seabees Improve Working Conditions in Guantanamo

Story Number: NNS110113-11Release Date: 1/13/2011 1:57:00 PM
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By Equipment Operator 1st Class Lori Roberts, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 28 Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Thirty-two Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 28 Detachment Gold, based in Shreveport, La., have been improving camp conditions at the Seabee compound at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in January 2011.

The compound, which houses buildings for headquarters, supply and construction equipment, including a mechanic's garage, a tire shop, a builder's shop, a storage yard for vehicles and equipment, a supply warehouse and multiple storage buildings, has suffered from wear and tear and has been in need of maintenance and renewal.

The Seabees who work on the compound have been acutely aware of the needed repairs and have dedicated some time to making improvements.

Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Alex Curry, who, among other duties, is responsible for the parts warehouse, is excited about the improvements.

"Now I'll be able to better see what I'm doing and not struggle with the door every day," said Curry.

Utilitiesman 1st Class Kevin Geegan, who is an electrician in his civilian job, made electrical repairs and worked on the door to Curry's warehouse, making the building safer and more accessible. Geegan also repaired some post lights around the compound to increase external light in the yard.

"Our working hours are longer than daylight lasts, so this will enable us to work those hours, complete our tasks and do so safely," said Chief Builder Shawn Hinderberger, detachment officer-in-charge.

Builder 1st Class Daniel Monroe made repairs to a rotted outer wall in the mechanic's shop. The corrugated metal wall, which had bent inward under the pressure of external forces, was allowing the dirt outside to come into the building in a two-foot mound on a storage room floor. Monroe and his crew repaired rotted wall studs, braced the wall, repaired the metal and cleaned the mass of dirt from the floor, creating a weatherproof room more appropriate for proper storage.

Other improvements made to the mechanic shop included plumbing improvements and the installation of an air conditioner in the dispatch office.

"It's about to get hot here, and it will be nice to have cool air running through the office when it happens," said Equipment Operator 1st Class Leonard Kelly, who works in the office completing licensing and other duties.

The supply warehouse is also benefiting from the improvements. Ventilation and lighting repairs were completed and plans were begun to construct a wall separating the open supply warehouse from a set of stairs that runs to a second level.

"We have a gymnasium upstairs that has been inaccessible anytime after working hours because it was open to our supply warehouse. With these guys building this wall behind the stairs to block off the warehouse, our Seabees can come in and work out on their own schedule, and not have to come in on their lunch hour to get in a work out," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Terry Keck, who runs the Supply Department and is in charge of the warehouse that houses the gym.

"Seabees always want to come in and work out, but until now I haven't been able to leave the building open for them to do so," said Keck.

Besides all the improvements, many Seabees received training during the process, learning skills both in and out of their normal job scope, and improving battalion skills and readiness.

NMCB 28 is expected to be deployed as part of the Southern Command until August 2011.

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