Seabees show the Boy Scouts how they 'can do' construction
The Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74, Detail Sasebo, Japan, enjoyed an opportunity to meet with local Boy Scout Troop 76 of the Far East Council of Boy Scouts who came to visit the construction site of a future Navy ship repair storage facility where the Seabees are currently constructing the building foundation. The Boy Scouts enjoyed learning about the U.S. Navy Seabees and had the opportunity to tour the site and ask questions about what they learned. The day’s activities provided the Boy Scouts an opportunity to earn their engineering merit badge.
The Scouts, ranging in age from eight to 15, took turns looking at blueprints, shop drawings, and construction activity schedules, and then moving out on the job-site to see the formwork that was being set in place and the various tools the Seabees have at their disposal. The Seabees stressed the importance of working as a team as Builder 2nd Class David Drean spoke about how each person’s construction specialty contributes to a step in the process. All Seabees receive basic training in project planning, estimating of materials and how to read project plans. When questioned by a young Scout about what classes were most important to become an engineer, Ensign Nick Sweet, the Detail Sasebo Officer In Charge stated that, “you need to be well rounded in all areas including things like writing and history, but math and sciences are the foundation to engineering.”
Once on the job site, Builder 3rd Class Brian Whelan explained the necessity of building strong formwork to support pressure while placing wet concrete and described how important terms such as level, plum, flush and square are to the work the Seabees do. Whelan also discussed how important the use of proper protective equipment is on the job, as even the expertly trained Seabees can get hurt on the job. The suspecting Boy Scouts doubted the presence of steel in the boots worn by the Seabees, so Whelan provided proof with the tap of his hammer on his toe, to the surprise of the Scouts.
Fire Control Chief Eric Holewinski, troop leader and father, said the Scouts “get to do a lot of hands on learning here in Sasebo. We’ve done overnights on some of the ships out here and now, actually getting onto a construction site, they see first-hand the work that goes on.” When asked what they learned on their visit, a young Boy Scout responded that “a ‘wacky packer’ makes the ground hard so buildings won’t tilt or sink.” In the eyes of the Seabees of NMCB 74, these scouts have earned their engineering merit badge.
Seabees of NMCB 74 are forward deployed throughout the United States Pacific Command Area of Operations supporting Navy and Joint Forces.