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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

NMCB 11 Returns from Field Training Exercise and Large Scale Exercise 2023

by MC2 James Hong
05 September 2023 NCBC Gulfport, Miss. – Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 returned from their annual field training exercise (FTX) to their homeport in Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Mississippi, Aug. 15, 2023.
The purpose of this year’s FTX, titled “Operation Turning Point 23-2", is run by NMCB 11’s superior command, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2, to assess all aspects of an NMCBs performance in a wartime scenario. To achieve this, the battalion is placed into a rigorous simulated combat environment. Successful completion of FTX is a requirement to certify an NMCB as an independently deployable unit.
The ten-day exercise ran in tandem with Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2023, a Navy and Marine Corps-wide exercise involving tens of thousands of Sailors and Marines across the globe.
LSE 2023 demonstrates the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ ability to employ precise, lethal, and overwhelming force globally across six maritime component commands, seven numbered fleets, and 22 time zones. LSE 2023 merges real-world operations with virtually constructed scenarios to create a realistic training environment that allows Sailors and Marines to train how they will fight, regardless of geographic boundaries.
In addition to the battalion’s headquarters, set up on Camp Shelby, Miss., NMCB 11 supported LSE by sending two companies to Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. and Tyndall AFB, Fla. for airfield damage repair, as well as two companies to Naval Station Norfolk, Va. and the port of Gulfport, Miss. for waterfront construction.
“We are the first East Coast Battalion to embark on an FTX under the new force design,” said Cmdr. Benjamin Waite, NMCB 11’s commanding officer. “We have never been more geographically dispersed.”
NMCB 11’s new force structure organizes the battalion into highly specialized companies that are readily deployable at a moment’s notice to achieve a specific goal. These specialties include airfields, waterfronts, medical facilities and base infrastructure.
The wide dispersion of units during FTX reflects this new force structure by deploying Seabee assets along an island chain and putting a heavy emphasis on communications and independent operations.
This new scenario is a drastic departure from the highly centralized War on Terror scenarios of recent years and hearkens back to the Seabees’ WW2-era roots, where construction teams were strung along the Pacific to build, maintain and defend critical Naval infrastructure.
On top of the new force structure, FTX NMCB 11 tested new capabilities and technical skills conducive to island-oriented tactics. Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) drones were used for reconnaissance and Lightweight Water Purification Systems (LWPS) were deployed to purify both salt and freshwater.
In North Carolina, NMCB 11’s 2nd Airfield Damage Company embarked aboard USS New York (LPD 21), to launch an amphibious landing of personnel and equipment onto Camp Lejeune.
Although much emphasis was placed on the battalion’s new capabilities, the expectation to perform more traditional Seabee missions did not diminish.
"The battalion continued to refine its general engineering skill sets through Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO),” said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Guaigua, NMCB 11’s operations officer. “Projects included constructing a hardened sentry post, heavy timber bunker, non-standard bunker, in addition to providing standard life support infrastructure such as berthing, power generation, showers and laundry.”
On top of their combat engineering skills, NMCB 11’s Seabees were also assessed on weapons proficiency, defensive tactics and communications.
“I expected there to be a few challenges and lessons learned along the way, but nothing we couldn’t overcome without the support of NCG 2,” said Cmdr. Waite. “I had absolute trust and confidence that the incredible members of NMCB 11 would leave the field successful after ENDEX!”
NMCB 11, assigned to Naval Construction Group TWO, is homeported in Gulfport, Ms., as part of the Naval Construction Force (NCF). The NCF is a vital component in U.S. Maritime Strategy and is composed of deployable battalions capable of providing contingency construction, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance, and combat operations support for regional partners and combatant commanders.

For more information about Seabees and NMCB 11, visit or