Seabees and Marines conduct an urban mobility breaching exercise, Feb. 20 in Okinawa. (U.S Navy photo by Ensign Humberto Baeza)

OKINAWA, Japan - Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 conducted inter-service training with the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Assault Battalion (CAB) here, Feb. 20-22.

This educational exchange involved NMCB 5 troops teaching Marines how to construct Southwest Asia (SWA) huts while CAB Marines demonstrated their demolition skills used to conduct urban mobility breaching or what Marines refer to informally as UMBC based on the acronym for the Marine Corps' Urban Mobility Breaching Course. "The training we received from the Marines on UMBC opened our eyes to the dangers they face," said Builder 3rd Class David Domagala. "Overall, everyone came away from this training exercise with a new found respect for the other service."

Upon arrival to the demolition range, both Marines and Seabees offloaded their builder's tool kit and lumber and began their construction classes. Within minutes both services were working side by side under the guidance of crew leader Domagala. The Marines and Seabees completed the construction of the SWA hut in about five hours.

On day two, Seabees received extensive training on building urban breaching shots, initiating systems, burn rates and the proper employments of demolition. "It improved the Marines' confidence in their knowledge of UMBC, because they had to communicate that knowledge to the Seabees," said 1st Lt. Jonathan Bisulca, 3rd platoon commander of Combat Engineer Company. Under the supervision of the CAB Marines, the Seabees were able to construct six distinct charges from scratch. The power of the charges ranged from a simple doughnut breaching charge to a much more destructive concrete charge. Once completed with the construction of the charges, the Seabees were instructed on the proper utilization of a blast blanket and determining the standoff distance from the blast. Working side by side and under the watchful eyes of the Marines, the Seabees conducted urban breaching training on the constructed SWA hut. Marine Capt. Benjamin Nichols, NMCB 5's assistant operations officer, previously served with the CAB and shared a unique perspective of the event. "It was special for me to witness the Seabees of NMCB 5 teach construction while the Marines of CAB expose the Seabees to their expertise in urban breaching."

This joint exercise was a chance for the Marines and Seabees to build camaraderie. "Bravo Zulu to the Marines and Seabee crew out there, I hope for more opportunities to cross train with Marines," said Steelworker 2nd Class Brandin Salazar, assistant officer in charge. NMCB 5 is home ported at Port Hueneme, California and is currently deployed to multiple sites throughout the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.