OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) - Five Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 at Camp Shields in Okinawa, Japan, traveled to mainland Japan March 12 to join the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander Task Force 76.

Four of the Seabees will work as subject matter experts within a humanitarian assistance survey team, and one Seabee will function as a liaison officer in Yokota, Japan.

The survey team will begin assessing the damages caused by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Sendai, Japan, March 11.

Their expertise in providing medical care, setting up communication systems and conducting engineering projects in arduous conditions will assist the U.S. military and Japanese government by assessing critical facilities. These facilities include schools, government buildings and locations that could support the search and rescue missions being conducted for Operation Tomodachi.

"They're out there to get an assessment of the damage and work with the government of Japan on finding out what the requirements are and how the U.S. military can best support the operations," said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Gamez, NMCB 133's operations officer.

When the teams arrive in the vicinity of Sendai, Japan, they will report their findings and assessments to the liaison officer in Yokota, who will then relay the information back to NMCB 133 headquarters in Okinawa.

The length of time that the surveys will be conducted may last anywhere from two weeks to a month, but the Seabees from NMCB 133 are willing to stay in Japan for as long as the mission requires.

"I think it's very important that we're here to support; it's what we're here to do. Seabees are deployed around the world, and NMCB 133, specifically, is deployed to the Pacific for operations just like this - to support and provide humanitarian assistance, disaster recovery and operations," said Gamez.

For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb133/.