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) ceremony onboard Camp Shields in Okinawa, Jan. 18.
he Seabees with NMCB-5 executed missions from 13 detail sites across the Indo-Pacific and participated in several joint exercises, such as Exercise Amphitrite Galvanic and Exercise Neptune's Forager.
"We arrived here in Okinawa and throughout the Pacific with highly motivated and well-trained Sailors ready to accomplish our mission by 'Succeeding Together," said Cmdr. Andrew Olsen, NMCB-5's commanding officer. "The men and women of [NMCB-5] continued to bridge the gap between sea and shore by supporting construction at the littorals for warfighter readiness. You have remained dedicated to being a paramount stand-in naval construction force for the Indo-Pacific region."
In the Marshall Islands, they built a police substation checkpoint to help the Marshallese support the Kwajalein Atoll Local Government — taking the opportunity to teach construction skills to recent high school graduates working at the Republic of Marshall Island's National Training Council.
NMCB-5's Detail Tinian worked with the Marines to help the local community by clearing land and leveling the Northern Marianas College Tinian Center area. The Seabees stood up a Detail in Papua New Guinea — at the request of the PNG Defence Force — to work with the PNG Defence Force and the Australian Defence Force on a new dental facility.
"Hoorah to my Sister Battalion, NMCB-5," said Cmdr. LaKeeva Gunderson, NMCB-3's commanding officer. "You all came here, took names, and delivered on what we, as the Naval Construction Force, promised. From enabling access and providing logistical support for Fleet maneuverability — your actions have not only improved partner relationships in the Indo-Pacific Command area of operations (AOR), but you were also integral in establishing lasting relationships with our Marines, Air Force, and Army counterparts."
The Seabees of NMCB-5 built on the Blue-Green Team throughout the past six months. In Sasebo, they teamed up with U.S. Marines to move Expeditionary Mobile Fleet Hospital equipment. They supported the Fleet and offloaded equipment to support Exercise Freedom Banner. NMCB-5 also built a four-room schoolhouse for the local Ministry of Education in Timor-Leste.
In Diego Garcia, they built a gas cylinder storage facility to support the Harbor Operations site onboard Naval Support Facility. And they performed critical maintenance on the airfield precision approach path indicator light systems for the Pacific Air Forces.
"And now, as we raise the battalion colors and transfer authority, we will watch NMCB-3 continue the legacy in the Indo-Pacific AOR," said Olsen. "They will take the watch as the stand-in naval construction force with their 'Better than Best' mentality. We all look forward to seeing the next battalion build on the combined success that helps ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific."
With the NMCB flag switched, revealing the number 'THREE' at Camp Shields, Okinawa, the RIP/TOA is complete. The Seabees with NMCB-3 now stand ready to carry out assigned tasking, conducting high-quality construction to support U.S. and partner nations, deter aggression, and enable expeditionary logistics and naval power projection throughout the AOR.
"Thank you for a thorough turnover, experienced insight, and overall transparent communication these past two weeks," said Gunderson. "We are excited, willing, and able to continue on with the great work from your team. You and the team can leave here full of pride and confidence that we will carry on the torch for continued success."
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.