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From left, a Japanese construction worker dispenses hot tar as Constructionman Cedric Park, Petty Officer 3rd Class Arlo Capelle and Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Torres from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Detail Atsugi, use shovels and rakes to lay asphalt for a flight line running track Thursday at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. The Seabee detail is permanently based at Port Hueneme, Calif.
From left, a Japanese construction worker dispenses hot tar as Constructionman Cedric Park, Petty Officer 3rd Class Arlo Capelle and Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Torres from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Detail Atsugi, use shovels and rakes to lay asphalt for a flight line running track Thursday at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. The Seabee detail is permanently based at Port Hueneme, Calif. (Mark Rankin / S&S)
From left, a Japanese construction worker dispenses hot tar as Constructionman Cedric Park, Petty Officer 3rd Class Arlo Capelle and Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Torres from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Detail Atsugi, use shovels and rakes to lay asphalt for a flight line running track Thursday at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. The Seabee detail is permanently based at Port Hueneme, Calif.
From left, a Japanese construction worker dispenses hot tar as Constructionman Cedric Park, Petty Officer 3rd Class Arlo Capelle and Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Torres from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Detail Atsugi, use shovels and rakes to lay asphalt for a flight line running track Thursday at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. The Seabee detail is permanently based at Port Hueneme, Calif. (Mark Rankin / S&S)
From left, Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Torres, Constructionman Cedric Park and Petty Officer 3rd Class Arlo Capelle from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Detail Atsugi, use a shovel and rakes to level asphalt for a flight line running track project Thursday at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Atsugi.
From left, Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Torres, Constructionman Cedric Park and Petty Officer 3rd Class Arlo Capelle from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Detail Atsugi, use a shovel and rakes to level asphalt for a flight line running track project Thursday at Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Atsugi. (Mark Rankin / S&S)

ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — They came and built: running tracks, picnic pavilions, new buildings and even a few barracks.

Soon, the constructionmen, builders, equipment operators and other Navy Seabees will wrap up their six-month deployment to Pacific Navy and Marine Corps bases. Since December, the Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, based at Port Hueneme, Calif., have spent six months working a number of quality-of-life and mission-related projects.

The 650 members of the battalion were split into details at various locations. The main body of the group is based at Camp Shields, Okinawa, where they built a 4,500-square-foot bus building and renovated a clinic. In mainland Japan, they created running tracks and picnic pavilions. In South Korea they erected buildings for billeting.

Like sailors deployed at sea, they left behind their families. Only they remain at one location and miss out on visiting foreign ports.

They do, however, get a few perks sea-duty sailors don’t: Sundays and some Saturdays off, a beer after work and the chance to gaze at trees whenever they want.

“Being shore-based definitely has its advantages,” said Lt. Dude Underwood, officer in charge of the detail at Sasebo Naval Base — and a former ship-based officer.

“I’ve always been told being on a [detail] is your time to shine,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephanie Harkness, an equipment operator and assistant crew leader at detail, Atsugi.

At small details, junior sailors have a chance to lead projects in positions usually reserved for senior personnel. Fewer people means greater responsibility — and training.

“It’s a good chance to develop skills outside their rate,” said Lt. Matthew McCann, officer in charge of the detail at Atsugi. McCann used the time to study and earned the Seabee Combat Warfare Pin.

Builderman Moses Silva, at Atsugi, scored in the 99th percentile on his advancement test to become a petty officer 3rd class.

The deployments mainly serve base communities. At Sasebo, Seabees built the pad for a new mobile stage, as well as drainage ditches and a picnic pavilion. At Atsugi, they built most of a running track along the flight line to give pedestrians a safe place to run and installed safety tiles at five playgrounds.

“This is exciting. You get to go to faraway countries and put your name on something,” Harkness said. At the detail in South Korea, Seabees were split between two small bases. They built most of a two-story barracks at Chinhae Naval Base.

At the second location, the remote Marine Corps base Camp Mujuk, Seabees renovated a building for future billeting, installed electrical transformers, and replaced pipes and a mile of wires, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Matthew Kiefer, the officer in charge.

Seabees deploy in self-contained units, and at Mujuk the detail handled all its own support, including serving 32,000 meals. Since the camp is sparse, the group also had more opportunities than details at more-developed bases.

The battalion will spend a year training and maintaining qualifications before deploying again. They’ll be replaced this month by NMCB 133 from Gulfport, Miss.

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