Hueneme-Based Seabees Sent to the Middle East

Times Staff Writer

A second Seabees battalion stationed in Port Hueneme has received orders to deploy to the Persian Gulf as the U.S. military prepares for possible war with Iraq, a Navy spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The 600 men and women of Naval Mobile Command Battalion 4 are expected to head out in the next several weeks, said Linda Wadley, a spokeswoman for Naval Base Ventura County.

Seabee units perform base construction and other support tasks. The Seabees are among thousands of troops gathering in the Mideast in case the nation goes to war.

"The Seabees' orders are to support our government's war against terrorism and prepare for any future contingencies," Wadley said.

Four Seabee battalions are stationed at Port Hueneme. One unit is on routine deployment in Okinawa, Japan. Another was on a routine mission to Spain when a small contingent was redeployed to the Mideast in October. An additional 400 Seabees from that battalion have since joined them.

After Battalion 4 leaves for the Middle East, a fourth unit will remain in Port Hueneme, but the situation could change any day, Wadley said.

Typically, Wadley said, anywhere from two to three battalions are in home port during peacetime, making the current situation unusual.

Wadley said there was no information on whether the Seabees would be transported by sea or air.

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