Gulfport Seabees prepare for deployment to Afghanistan

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Between January and March, nearly 600 Seabees will be sent from Gulfport to serve in Afghanistan.

"The call came in and said, 'Are the battalions ready to go? Are they ready to move?' There wasn't even a thought other than let's let them know and they'll get their troops ready," Base Commander Captain Ed Brown said.

As they prepare for deployment, Seabees weighed equipment Tuesday afternoon that will be loaded on planes to Afghanistan.

"We have some scrapers, we have some graders, a lot of flat bed trailers and things as small as our light plants and our generators that are getting ready to go," Brown said.

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 will support the Army and Marine Corp by building roads and improving facilities that can withstand the troop surge. Of the 600, about 100 are deploying for the first time.

"That mentorship role is very important," said NMCB 133 Commander Chris Kugan. "It certainly puts those new folks at ease knowing that their supervisors and peers have been there before and can kind of prep them."

Another vital step of getting the troops prepared is making sure those left behind have all the resources available.

"It's not useful to send the troop out if he's worried about the family or she's worried about her family and friends in Gulfport," Brown said.

The fleet and family office, chaplains and community resources have worked together preparing families for the deployment. As the time for deployment approaches, these military leaders say there are ways in which the community can help.

"As we get ready to deploy, any prayers are always appreciated, of course, and looking after our loved ones as we're gone and deployed."

NMCB 4 out of Port Hueneme, California, will accompany the battalion from Gulfport.  Deployment should last about a year, but Captain Brown said that could change depending on what happens on the ground.

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