Photo By daniel davenport | 220310-N-UQ872-0001 POINT MUGU, Calif. (Mar. 10, 2022) Naval Expeditionary Combat…… read more read more
Photo By daniel davenport | 220310-N-UQ872-0001 POINT MUGU, Calif. (Mar. 10, 2022) Naval Expeditionary Combat Command advisor Marine Staff Sgt. Anthony Romberger emphasizes leadership, teamwork, and accountability to Civil Engineer Corps Officers School Basic Class 272 student Ensign Meredith Goergena during a five-day civil engineer corps field training exercise. Field training exercises are an integral part of the school’s training cycle, preparing students for their future units and allowing them to utilize the lessons and skills learned in the classroom. (U.S. Navy photo by Daniel Davenport) see less | View Image Page
POINT MUGU, Calif. – Sixty-four U.S. Navy Engineer Corps Officers School (CECOS) Basic Class 272 students completed the expeditionary phase of their civil engineer corps (CEC) training with a field training exercise (FTX) March 11.
The five-day FTX, conducted across Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu’s coastal terrain, challenged future CEC officers to operate as a team while completing scenario missions in a realistic environment. The FTX training method is an integral part of preparing students for their future units throughout the Navy, allowing students to utilize the lessons and skills learned in the classroom.
“FTX prepares junior officers to understand the basics of field operations within Seabee battalions,” said Honolulu native Chief Petty Officer Rodney Pelangka, a learning program manager assigned aboard Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Port Hueneme. “I really enjoy having an opportunity to help mentor these new officers, helping prepare them for their CEC careers.”
In order to simulate real-world combat conditions, students eat three MREs (meals, ready-to-eat) each day and have limited hygiene opportunities. They are also required to perform a two-hour overnight security detail.
“FTX is critical foundation training that lays the ground work for more advanced training when they join an operational unit,” said Capt. Peter Maculan, Woonsocket, R.I., native and 1994 CECOS graduate.
Maculan, who is the commanding officer of CECOS, reminds new officers that FTX is not designed to make them subject experts, but rather to familiarize them with expectations for those under their leadership.
Upon arrival to their FTX campsite, students were tasked to construct a tent city within a five-hour time limit. CECOS Basic Class 272 completed the tasking in just over four hours. During the FTX, students were separated into four squads with an assigned officer, Chief Petty Officer, and Marine adviser.
“Instructors guide and share their knowledge of weapons handling, writing orders and teaching CEC students the basics of field operations,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Cox, senior Marine non-commissioned officer in charge.
The student squads were assigned missions to plan and conduct security patrols, command post exercises, and engineering reconnaissance. One training mission performed by the students was the reconnoitering of a potential helicopter landing zone. Students were tasked to plan the mission, develop a patrol order, conduct reconnaissance, and maintain security each step of the mission. Realistic security patrols provided unique challenges, combining squad tactics, operational procedures, radio communications, and engineering problem solving.
Each squad presented a final debrief to a notional combat logistics battalion commander after working through the exercises. The debrief provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their verbal communication skills, ability to organize information, and leadership.
Lt. j.g. Brandon Jackson, a native of Charleston, S.C., who served as CECOS Basic Class 272 student officer in charge, enjoyed the challenges of the exercise. A prior Marine, Jackson grew up in a Navy family.
“This is what I wanted to become a part of all along,” said Jackson. “I would not mind extending this training for another week. The real life experiences will be valuable in my career.”
Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Command Master Chief Alonso Cadena, a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, congratulated CECOS Basic Class 272 students at the end of the FTX for their performance during the training exercise.
“This is just a taste of the real world,” said Cadena. “Being a CEC officer requires toughness, to include taking care of your mind, body, and soul.”
CECOS students receive classroom and laboratory instruction, before and after the FTX, covering construction methods, contingency planning and operations, engineering reconnaissance, and land navigation. The total length of their training in Port Hueneme is 15 weeks and is typically followed by Expeditionary Combat Skills training in Gulfport, Miss.
CECOS provides Seabees, civil engineer corps officers, facility engineers and environmental professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, and education to enhance lifelong learning and to provide quality support to the fleet.
Basic Class 272 is scheduled to graduate from the 15-week course May 6.
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