NCHB FOURTEEN Reserve Sailors Conduct Deployment Readiness Assessment

BY LT. BILL VALENTE, SC, USN, NAVY CARGO HANDLING BATTALION FOURTEEN

NCHB 14 Air Cargo Company Sailors execute download and upload of air pallets to a modified C-130.

NCHB 14 Air Cargo Company Sailors execute download and upload of air pallets to a modified C-130.

NCHB 14 Sailor maintains a defensive perimeter during the asses sment phase of ULTRA in which tent camp command and control, and entry control point operations are tested and evaluated.

NCHB 14 Sailor maintains a defensive perimeter during the asses sment phase of ULTRA in which tent camp command and control, and entry control point operations are tested and evaluated.

This past August, 255 Reserve and full-time support Sailors assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion FOURTEEN (NCHB 14) from Port Hueneme, California, partnered with Expeditionary Communications Detachment FIVE from San Diego, California, to conduct their Unit Level Training and Readiness Assessment (ULTRA) at Yorktown Naval Weapons Station in Cheatham Annex, Virginia. This evolution, which includes team training, watch station qualification, mock scenarios, and a final unit deployment readiness assessment, was facilitated by the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG). This marked the final mobilization certification for NCHB14, making them ready to deploy, as a complete battalion, in support of worldwide contingency operations for fiscal year 2017 and beyond.

NCHB 14 Expeditionary Support Company Bravo provided expeditionary food service via the Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT) during the unit training phase of ULTRA. The MKT is designed to augment Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE™) usage in the field with hot meals, providing a nutrition and morale boost to Sailors operating in austere conditions.

NCHB 14 Expeditionary Support Company Bravo provided expeditionary food service via the Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT) during the unit training phase of ULTRA. The MKT is designed to augment Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE™) usage in the field with hot meals, providing a nutrition and morale boost to Sailors operating in austere conditions.

NCHB 14 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Darin Perrine said, “I could not be more proud of my team! They performed admirably, even under difficult environmental and budgetary circumstances. The Normal Fleet Response Training Plan provides four years between these assessments, but our Sailors were asked to accomplish their training and certify in only three years. I’d put my team up against any other cargo team out there. We Are Ready!”

NCHB 14 handlers worked around the clock during the assessment phase to ensure safe surface and air cargo movement operations, as well as cargo terminal operations. Expeditionary support of
personnel and equipment was included indigenously without a hitch. Despite being short-handed and working 12–hour shifts in the Virginia heat and humidity, Sailors from each company honed their operational capability during mock equipment failures, resource limitations, and simulated attacks. The final assessment, which is executed and evaluated by the NAVELSG Training and Evaluation Unit, was designed to test the battalion under extreme conditions in support of mission requirements.

NCHB 14 Surface Company Sailors prepare to transfer a container from the pier to the vessel during the unit training phase of ULTRA.

NCHB 14 Surface Company Sailors prepare to transfer a container from the pier to the vessel during the unit training phase of ULTRA.

Command Master Chief Jeffrey Canter said, “I am absolutely blown away with the way all of these Sailors came together under these conditions and excelled as a team. It is a testament to their dedication, training and teamwork. I could not be more honored than I am at this time to have worked with these Sailors in the field and realized the outcome of certification. We truly do “Move the Navy!”

NCHB 14 exercises full command and control via the expeditionary tactical operations center during ULTRA.

NCHB 14 exercises full command and control via the expeditionary tactical operations center during ULTRA.

The assessment was broken into two sections, with NCHB 14’s San Diego based fuels company completing their training and assessment in May, followed by the remaining 10 companies comprising the battalion main body, completing the assessment by September 1. With the full certification, NCHB 14 is now ready to support worldwide deployment as a battalion unit of action in a contingency environment if required. NCHB14 is currently scheduled to augment several deployed units in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in the coming year. NCHB 14 Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Talmadge said, “Despite funding issues due to a challenging budget year, our Sailors were ready and performed at a high level and accomplished our training and certification mission. Everyone pulled together and succeeded in the areas we trained for. Our personnel worked very hard to prepare us for success. I couldn’t be more proud of the officers, chiefs, and Sailors that came together to achieve the deployment certification.”

NCHB 14 is a Reserve expeditionary support unit headquartered in Port Hueneme, California, with outlying companies in Phoenix, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Alameda. It has 349 Reserve, Active, and Full-Time Support Sailors assigned to the unit. They provide trained, manned, and equipped expeditionary forces to support NAVELSG missions at home and abroad. The battalion’s maritime forces ashore provide expeditionary cargo handling services for surface, air, terminal operations, tactical fueling, and ordnance handling in support of worldwide Naval, Joint, interagency, and combined forces. NAVELSG is a Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and vital enabler of Maritime Prepositioning Forces Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore Operations.

November/December 2016