27 Navy Reserves To Deploy In Coming Weeks
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
November 30, 2012 6:20 PM
Over the next few weeks, 27 Navy sailors will be deployed for active duty from the Sioux Falls area. Some of which will find their way to Afghanistan.
But, with a shrinking national defense budget this will be the last deployment for one battalion.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15 is apart of the construction wing of the Navy. Unlike most other sailors, the ‘Seabees’ are based on land, where they build anything from bases to runways in hostile territory. But, for this construction battalion with reservists from Sioux Falls this will be their final deployment.
A dozen or so Navy Reservists fill out their remaining paper work as they prepare for a yearlong deployment.
About half of the 27, including Chief Jeff Cheskie, will begin their journey on Sunday.
“A lot of people are excited. I'm excited to go. It's been a lot of build up. So, I hope to get it done with. We've known we were going to mobilize for about a year now,” said Chief Cheskie.
While not all the details have been finalized for their deployment, the battalion knows they'll being doing what they've been trained to do
“We're probably going to be taking bases that are already established out. Then probably going to be building up some more,” said Chief Cheskie.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15 is based in Missouri but about 40 of the reservists live in the Sioux Falls area.
And the battalion boasts a long record of building in war zones.
“They've done several deployments, from World War II, to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, through Iraq,” said Lt. Commander Douglas Koch.
But with over 20 construction battalions in the Navy, The U.S. Government is looking to downsize parts of the military.
“It's a part of an overall cost cutting measure for the Department of Defense,” said Koch.
And for those who have served in the battalion this final deployment is bittersweet.
“It's disheartening, I guess. I've been in NMCB-15 for close to 10 years and now it's going away. And, it’s been around for quite some time. With all the budget cuts, it's things that you got to do, and we're one of them on the block,” said Chief Cheskie.
The 27 leaving Sioux Falls will meet up with over 500 additional Navy Reservists in Gulfport, Mississippi, where they will go through two months of training before some depart for Afghanistan.
Some of the Navy Reservists who still plan on working for the military will be reassigned when the return.