By Earl Bittner, NAVFAC Southeast Public Affairs
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Navy Reserve Contingency Engineering Unit (NAVFAC NR CEU) Contingency Engineering Response Team (CERT) conducted damage assessment team training and certification exercise at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, March 22 through April 3.
The NAVFAC NR CEU is a reserve unit based out of the Washington Navy Yard. Their mission includes maintaining a trained and ready to deploy CERT to provide facilities engineering support for disaster recovery at military installations and as needed by the Department of Defense.
"You have to be prepared for a lot: tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding. We have a global reach," said Capt. Fred Ray, readiness officer, NAVFAC NR CEU.
During the two weeks, the NAVFAC NR CEU CERT trained on performing rapid building assessments of facilities that experienced simulated damage due to a hurricane. The team evaluated and documented building structural stability, overall safety for use, and repair needs that NAS leadership would use to help gain an operational capability picture in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
The team worked closely with and provided direct support to the local NAVFAC Southeast Disaster Preparedness Officer Lt. Cmdr. Ken Vargas.
"A key for us is creating awareness of our capabilities to FECs (Facilities Engineering Commands) to ensure we are utilized as a resource as the need arises," said Cmdr. James Marapoti, officer in charge, NAVFAC NR CEU CERT.
"Multiple commands at NAS Jacksonville provided direct support to ensure our training was successful, including NAVFAC Southeast, Naval Operational Support Center (NOSC) Jacksonville and NAS Jacksonville Naval Hospital," explained Lt. Cmdr. Michael McSweeney, training officer, NAVFAC NR CEU CERT.
All in all the exercise was a success and resulted in a CERT unit that is ready to support naval disaster recovery operations. Lt. Kevin Darmody of the CERT commented that the most important part of the evolution was "Teamwork. We've formed a solid team."