Spc. Blair Neelands
1st Brigade Combat Team Journalist
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GRIFFIN, Afghanistan – Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, based in Point Hueneme, Calif., are working hard under the scorching Afghan sun to expand Forward Operating Base Griffin near Meimaneh in northern Afghanistan.
More than 500 Seabees from NMCB4 who arrived in Afghanistan in January are spread across International Security Assistance Force’s Regional Command – North working on construction projects.
When these sailors arrived at FOB Griffin, it housed roughly 90 troops. Now, after many renovations and additions, the base is home to more than 500 service members from the United States, Sweden and Norway.
“When we first got here, it was a really small FOB,” said Steel Worker 2nd Class Matthew Long. “We have expanded it and made it three times the size.”
Currently, the priority for Seabees on FOB Griffin is building the tactical operations center for 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
“It’s going to provide office spaces for their command center where they can do their tactical operations,” said Builder 3rd Class Derrick Cripe.
For many of the 22 Seabees on FOB Griffin, who primarily work with steel, working with wood is a learning experience.
“Most of the stuff we do as Seabees is on-the-job training,” Long explained. “We have three people who are specialists in what they do here, and they teach us how to do it as we go along.”
In the last six months, the Seabees have built protective barriers for base security, installed drainage systems, and enhanced overall living conditions for the multinational force on the FOB.
“We are out here to better this camp and to add things that make it more livable,” said Builder Construction Apprentice Nathan Schott. “We have done things like expand the washroom from three to eight washers and dryers.”
During their off time, Cripe said they even enjoy working on small side projects like chairs.
“It all just boosts morale,” he said. “Morale is high at the end of every day.”
With roughly two months until they return home, the Seabees are looking forward to seeing their family and friends, but they remain focused on the task at hand – improving overall conditions on FOB Griffin.