Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Nov. 10, 2020

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Trials New Technology to Support COVID Tracing Efforts

By Petty Officer 1st Class Stephane Belcher Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 started field-testing a developing technology with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to streamline COVID-19 contact tracing efforts onboard Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, California, Nov. 2.

Seabees volunteered to wear a Bluetooth device during working hours or when there was a reasonable expectation for contact with someone else who was wearing the device. The tracker identified when they were within six feet of another device for a designated amount of time.

“This is invaluable to us, for [NMCB-5] to quickly take this on,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Coursey, with NAVSEA and the project officer for the COVID-19 proximity tracker. “If people don’t adopt the technology and they don’t wear them, then it doesn’t work, and it’s just not effective.”

Each wristband has a unique identification to enable COVID-19 tracing methods and is viewable on an application dashboard, notifying wearers if they were potentially exposed to, or in close contact with, someone who tested positive for COVID-19. It does not have GPS capabilities and will only distinguish if it has come close to another device for a certain time, ensuring privacy.

“These proximity trackers are going to be used as a supplemental tool, along with our normal contact tracing protocol of calling patients who are positive and getting a good contact log of that person,” said Lt. Jeffrey Moy, NMCB-5’s medical officer. “These contact tracing devices can augment that because a lot of people will not know who they were in a meeting room with, who they were passing, or who they were talking to.”

Other than a small pilot at the Naval Academy, NMCB-5 is the first command to test the automated proximity trackers. NAVSEA is looking to the Seabees to give feedback on implementing this new technology to eventually encompass a larger scale, like aboard naval ships.

“I think the more important part of doing this is getting the actual folks that are going to be wearing these to give feedback,” said Coursey. “This pilot is going to be more efficient because we will get a better understanding of the technology, and it is a little bit more sequenced and more focused.”

There are obstacles to overcome before launching the trackers in a shipboard environment, such as the radio frequencies in the proximity trackers, which can have a lot of interference on a ship. The first step for NAVSEA is to get a shore-based test and understand how the trackers work in a less complex environment.

“Once we can verify the technology—you know, if device one and device two activate within 6 feet of each other—we can start looking at ships and try to adapt to the more complex environment.”

NMCB-5 is homeported in Port Hueneme, California. During the homeport phase, the Seabees train on high-quality construction, expeditionary logistics, and combat operations to support U.S. and partner nations and deter aggression.

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
307,140
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
7th Fleet Destroyer Conducts Freedom of Navigation Operation in South China Sea
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) conducts routine underway operations. Benfold is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Jan. 20, 2022 - SOUTH CHINA SEA -- On Jan. 20, USS Benfold (DDG 65) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law. At the conclusion of the operation, USS Benfold exited...

Coast Guard Cutters begin Operation Aiga in Oceania
The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) on patrol off the coast of Waikiki, July 4, 2018. The Joseph Gerczak's crew participated in an operation to keep swimmers and boaters safe during a Fourth of July celebration on the waters off Waikiki.
Jan. 20, 2022 - HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The crews of the Coast Guard Cutter Juniper (WLB 201) and Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) will aim to extend the Coast Guard’s at-sea enforcement presence in the region through a 40-day patrol.“Aiga,” the Samoan...

NMCB-5 Concludes Indo-Pacific Deployment, NMCB-3 Assumes Authority of Naval Construction Force Tasking in the Indo-Pacific
Command Master Chief Martin Laurie (left), Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5, hands the battalion flag to Utilitiesman 1st Class Sabino Martinez during a relief in place/transfer of authority (RIP/TOA) ceremony onboard Camp Shields in Okinawa, Jan. 18. This RIP/TOA marked the official completion of NMCB-5's deployment in the region. NMCB-5 is homeported in Port Hueneme, California. The Seabees will train on high-quality construction, expeditionary logistics, and combat operations during the homeport phase. They execute construction and engineering projects to support Major Combat Operations, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance
Jan. 20, 2022 - OKINAWA, Japan -- U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 transferred authority of Naval Construction Force tasking in the Indo-Pacific region to NMCB-3 during a relief in place/transfer of authority (RIP/TOA)...

Simplified Human/Machine Interfaces Top List of Critical DOD Technologies
An announcement was made by the Department of Defense June 3 that will bring enormous advantages, as well as responsibilities, to San Antonio and the region. Joint Base San Antonio is one of 12 select installations where the department will experiment and test fifth-generation, or 5G, communications technology.
Jan. 20, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- A modern-day cell phone packs quite a wallop when it comes to computing technology and capability. But most cell phones barely come with a "quick start guide," let alone an instruction manual that spells out how...

Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 Completes the Inaugural Multinational Underwater Repair Exercise with the Republic of Korea Navy UCT
Divers from the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Underwater Construction Team (UCT) and the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Construction Team TWO (UCT-2) perform underwater exothermic cutting during the Multinational Underwater Repair Exercise (MUREX) 2021 in Apra Harbor, Guam, Dec. 21, 2021. This is the first-ever MUREX, an exercise designed to develop interoperability in underwater construction operations, build diving expertise, and foster comradery between the ROKN UCT and the U.S. Navy’s UCT-2 and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE (MDSU-1).
Jan. 20, 2022 - APRA HARBOR, Guam -- Divers from the U.S. Navy’s (USN) Underwater Construction Team TWO (UCT 2 ) Construction Diving Detachment ALFA (CDD/A), Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE (MDSU-1), and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN)...