“Thoughts from the Running Trail” - Can Do

As the colors passed from NMCB 74 to MNCB 133 and each commander addressed their Seabees and teammates from CJTF-HOA and Camp, we reflected on the work a single unit Can Do to build a safer, more secure environment for our East African partners.  Our Seabees produce visible results, which makes them a great example of what we are doing here and making a positive impact.  The Transfer of Authority ceremony was a time for us to reflect on what we build here, seen and unseen.   We are building at CJTF-HOA:  Building clinics, building roads, building relationships or building capacity.

Seabees really are a breed of their own.  Their motto is “Can Do” and they Can Do anything and everything.  This week Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 honorably completed their deployment.    Their command was built on a cornerstone of “honoring the past, succeeding in the present, and preparing for the future.” In honor of those who have gone before them, NMCB 74 spent the last six months building on their heritage.  They have proven that Seabees “Can Do” throughout time and around the world, from Tarawa, Kwajalein, Okinawa, Vietnam, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, OIF, OEF…and now from the Horn of Africa. We are all part of a long line of service.  What we do here will create the legacy for the service members who follow us down the road.

The ceremony reminded us that the Seabees did not have it easy.  They worked difficult, dirty jobs requiring more perseverance than running a marathon and 14-hour days in the blazing African sun to support air operations and force protection improvements.  The enlisted leadership within the Seabees was exceptional. Their Can Do attitude was infectious.   They could get difficult tasks done right away--impossible tasks only took a little longer.

NMCB 133 came in highly motivated ready to take over where NMCB 74 left off.  This unit also has a proud history. They were there in 1945, securing the beach of Iwo Jima. They had the distinct privilege of being the marine-led coalition force for offensive operations into Afghanistan in 2001.  In September of 2012, 133 deployed to Afghanistan and were awarded the Battle E and coveted Peltier Award, symbolic of the best Seabee Battalion Naval Construction Force. They have the mission mindset.  They’re an honest group that will do anything to assist their teammates. 

NMCB 74 began construction on a maternity clinic in the Djiboutian village of Kalaf, a project NMCB 133 will be entrusted to complete.  This has the potential to affect future generations and lower the infant mortality rate.  These kinds of projects make immeasurable gains toward building relationships based on shared understanding and trust.

Seabees “Can Do” just about anything from rebuilding after catastrophes, providing humanitarian relief or on the fields of battle. Just here at CJTF-HOA, their capabilities reinforced our force protection in three different locations.  They built establishments for communities in East Africa that will broaden education for some and improve quality of life for others.  All of what they do contributes to building trust and capacity within East Africa.

The team at CJTF-HOA is proof that heroism doesn’t end on the battlefield.   We represent ourselves as a profession of arms. You are heroes in the eyes of millions of people who see you as representatives of America.  You are responsible for taking the American spirit to the citizens of the world.  We are introducing them to freedom and hope-- not with weapons but with hammers, nails and compassion for their fellow man.

Ubuntu.  See you on the running trail.

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