By Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) (5/20/09) -- The Third Naval Construction Regiment Seabee Rodeo was held aboard NAS Jacksonville April 28-May 3, and the competing teams were Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 14 of NAS Jax, NMCB 23 of Fort Belvoir, Va., and NMCB 24 of Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
"Each team competes in general military skills, uniform appearance, physical training and readiness, construction skills, marksmanship and other skills," explained NMCB 14 Commanding Officer Capt. Joseph Hinson.
To simulate being deployed, competitors bivouacked in tents and dined on MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Events took place throughout the day and night with teams competing in events representing every aspect of Seabee life — such as personnel inspections, close order drill, land navigation, erecting tents within a secure perimeter and command operations center exercises that simulate attacks on their base.
They also participated in practical rate exercises that test the skills of the individual Seabee. Construction mechanics had to build a working cabinet with sink. Engineering aides surveyed construction sites. Equipment operators were tasked with loading and unloading a tractor onto an 18-wheeler flat bed. Steelworkers welded and cut sheet metal, and utilitiesmen erected lights and ran power cables. Other rates attached to Seabee battalions, such as storekeepers and culinary specialists, had events of their own.
The "Iron CS Challenge" mimicked the Iron Chef television show — but with some aspects geared more toward cooking on deployment rather than in a regular galley kitchen.
"This is the second running of the Iron CS Challenge. We try to set the same tone and environment, as they would encounter in the field. They get limited resources and a surprise item, which today happens to be a tomato," said Culinary Specialist Chief Michael Farrell of NMCB 23.
"Competitors have to create a meal around that tomato and only have 2.5 hours to prepare, cook and serve the meal. The skipper and the commodore will evaluate each chef's creation on taste, presentation and creativity. The winner is presented with the Iron Culinary Specialist Trophy that they will keep until next year's rodeo."
Hinson continued, "After six days of friendly but serious competition, we tally up the scores to determine our rodeo champion. They take home the trophy until the next year's rodeo."
Staff from the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, headquartered in Atlanta, judged the events. At the end of the competition, NMCB 23 came out on top — winning both the Iron CS Challenge and the overall Seabee Rodeo.
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