July 25, 2012
CAMP SHIELDS, Japan - the Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 completed a change of command ceremony onboard Camp Shields, Okinawa. During the ceremony, Commander David McAlister (CNW 2012), assumed command of the battalion, which is currently deployed to the Pacific, from Cmdr. Richard Hayes III.
Capt. Rodney M. Moore, commander of 30th Naval Construction Regiment, was the guest speaker for the event and gave much praise to Hayes for his outstanding leadership.
“For the past two years, Cmdr. Hayes has performed brilliantly,” said Moore. “He completes his command tour with sustained superior performance and leaves behind a legacy of new leaders ready for the next challenge.”
During Hayes’ command, NMCB 74 deployed throughout Europe and Africa from Dec. 2010 to August 2011. During the deployment the Battalion completed 54 projects totaling more than 39,000 man-days in eleven countries which enhanced the operational capabilities of numerous Supported Commanders across Europe and Africa. In between readiness exercises NMCB 74 Seabees were at work drilling water wells, building medical clinics, renovating piers and working hand-in hand with allied forces and local nationals as well as constructing several improvements to various bases roads, runways and structures.
As the Commodore of 30th NCR, Moore oversees Seabee units deployed to the Pacific and he highlighted that the last time NMCB 74 was deployed to Okinawa was in 2005 at which time the Battalion’s Air Detachment was sent to conduct disaster relief operations in response to the 7.6 magnitude Kashmir Earthquake in Pakistan, all the while coping with aftermath of Hurricane Katrina back home in Mississippi.
“It is great to have the Fearless Seabees of NMCB 74 deployed back to the Pacific… things have changed over the last seven years and there has been a strategic pivot by our nation’s leadership in response to the nations changing environment,” said Moore. “Cmdr. McAlister is no stranger to the 30NCR or its area of operations and he brings a wealth of operational experience, talent and passion for the Seabees.”
Before turning the Battalion over to McAlister, Hayes addressed his Seabees one last time as their commanding officer and thanked them for their hard work that led to the Battalion’s success.
“I will forever treasure the time I have had as your commanding officer. I have cherished every single day and without a doubt, this has been by far my most rewarding tour,” exclaimed Hayes. “You made it so. Each and everyone of you holds my great pride, total trust, loyalty, respect, and lasting admiration. Thank you so much for what you do everyday.”
After having received the Battalion colors from Hayes, McAlister gave his first address as commanding officer to the Seabees of NMCB 74. He praised them for their previous accomplishments and expressed his desire to lead them into the future.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to Command this exceptional unit. This Battalion has participated in major combat operations since World War II and has excelled at disaster recovery, humanitarian assistance, theater security cooperation and expeditionary engineering operations around the world… as we operate forward in the Pacific, we must succeed in the present and enhance ongoing engagement opportunities and we must always prepare for the future and stand ready to respond wherever and whenever we may be called upon.”
McAlister is a graduate of Naval War College and a native of Knoxville, Tenn.
Hayes next assignment is as the public works officer of Naval Station Norfolk, VA.