Story by PO1 Jessica Dupree on 05/22/2019NCBC GULFPORT, Miss. Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 14 conducted a Command Post Exercise (CPX) at Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Mississippi, May 16-19.
CPX, which is conducted in preparation for the battalion field training exercise (FTX), is a battalion communications exercise used to practice and assess the unit's abilities to communicate effectively across multiple channels in an operational environment.
NMCB-14 Seabees who participated in the four-day evolution practiced facilitating communications between the combat operation center (COC) and command post (CP). The COC is responsible for tracking and monitoring all significant processes at a camp, and therefore all communications both to and from the COC must be accurate and timely to ensure the best information is available for decision makers.
"The people on the lines are the ones running the fight," said Chief Steelworker Robert Upthegrove, one of the evaluators for this CPX. "The COC is support for them."
For this evolution, evaluators took turns visiting two CPs and the COC to give the Seabees scenarios they must react to and communicate up and down the chain of command. Most tactical scenarios are covered in the Tactical Standard Operating Procedures (TACSOP), a unit-specific manual that dictates appropriate actions for different events such as mass casualties or suspicious vehicles.
"CPX helps the Seabees run through the process of immediate action drill and how to communicate during such events," said Chief Steel Worker (SCW) Joe Bellomo, the exercise chief for this evolution. "It reinforces the requirements in our TACSOP."
This is the first of two planned CPX evolutions before NMCB-14 Seabees conduct their FTX, the final exercise required before a battalion is eligible for deployment. Using a "crawl, walk, run" mentality, each exercise will be progressively more challenging.
"The upcoming CPX will bring new challenges for the Seabees and build on the training they received during this past CPX," Bellomo said. "They will receive additional training on how a fire team should communicate with the squad leader, the squad leader with the company CP and the company CP with the COC."
Bellomo said he couldn't be happier with how the battalion performed in this exercise, and he looks forward to seeing their progress at the next planned CPX.
"The team performed exceptionally," he said. "Everyone worked together toward a common goal."