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Seabees mentor Oxnard JROTC students, help staff

People are working at building construction.
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Equipment Operator 1st Class Petty Officer (SCW) Angel Laracuente from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 mentors Oxnard High School sophomore and Junior Reserve Officer Corps student Anthony Sedano on how to safely operate a drill at Oxnard High School, Sat., Feb. 23. Volunteers from NMCB 3's First Class Petty Officer Association visited to the school to help mentor JROTC students and build shelving units for a large metal storage container. NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready warfighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Petty Officer (SW/AW) Chris Fahey, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 Public Affairs Officer. © Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey

OXNARD, Calif. – Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 mentored students from Oxnard High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps during a volunteer construction project that helped the program prepare for a major upcoming inspection.

The volunteers – all members of NMCB 3’s First Class Petty Officer Association – taught the JROTC students how to transform a large metal container into a dual-level, shelved gear locker.

According to Oxnard High School JROTC Commander Retired Air Force Maj. Dale Weaver, the effort provided a new opportunity to both teach kids the proper way to safely operate tools and helped double their current storage space.

“This project raised our available storage from 255 to more than 400-square feet,” he said. “This helps meet the requirement needed for us to pass a mandatory inspection scheduled this fall. If we were to fail the inspection, we would be placed on probation. Consistent failures would result in the program’s dismissal … so the work and mentorship being performed here is invaluable and something these kids will never forget.”

The NCMB 3 volunteers ensured the high schoolers understood all safety steps, gained thorough knowledge of the tools and performed critical quality control techniques to reduce mistakes. The mentorship came second nature to the veteran Seabees who shared a combined trade experience of more than 70 years.

“I enjoy this a lot,” said volunteer Builder 1st Class Petty Officer (SCW) Eddie Pygott. “I have two sons who I make help me when I’m doing things around the house and perform these same steps with all my junior Bees. So far, the students have been receptive, eager and confident. Each of them listened to what I said and followed directions perfectly.”

Oxnard High School Principal Dr. Eric Riegert said the schools JROTC program is a critical component to the school’s success. His maintenance staff is currently overwhelmed keeping up with the day-to-day operations. If not for the NMCB 3 volunteers, the needed construction would most likely never have been completed.

“It’s a big deal,” said Riegert. “We couldn’t do it ourselves. Seeing the collaboration between the students and Seabees in a learning model where the students receive instructions and apply the knowledge is great. This is my third principalship with a JROTC program in place. It’s vital, and I can’t imagine a school without it. It builds pride, discipline and really makes a difference.”

The project was the first of many collaborations planned between NMCB 3 and the local JROTC unit to ensure they meet their inspection requirements this fall.

NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready warfighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations.

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