NEWS | April 10, 2013

NMC earns Mine Readiness Certification

By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Sailors, from the Navy Munitions Command Unit Charleston, successfully completed a week-long training and certification from April 1 through 5, at Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station, S.C.

The training certified NMC Sailors to safely and efficiently build mines and is conducted about once every two years. The last inspection was October 2010 and the next is scheduled in 2015.

The training was conducted by Commander, Mobile Mine Assembly Group based out of San Diego, Calif.

Since the earliest days of the U.S. Navy, there has been a need for sea mines and the need to counter them. Today, NMC proudly continues that tradition, through their expert training and preparation with mine munitions.

"The mine assembly teams know exactly what they're doing," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Seevers, NMC Mine Operations officer. "Their expert knowledge is proven through the excellent passing grade on the inspection."

NMC Unit Charleston was certified to continue conducting mine building operations for 24 months with Weapons Reliability of 98.4 percent and an Inventory Accuracy category score of 97.6 percent.

NMC's primary mission is to protect the United States' national interests, security, its citizens and allies through providing receipt, storage and issue of ordnance supporting Maritime Prepositioning Force and Afloat Prepositioning Force missions; providing offensive and defensive pre-positioned War Reserve Stock service mines, exercises and training shapes as well as providing research and development projects for mining.

"We have around 50 minemen in our shop," said Seevers. "It's a tight-knit community, and while at sea we are often called 'hybrid Sailors' because we can do pretty much anything on the ship."

NMC specializes in refurbishing exercise and training mines, many of which have been in the water for years. A multi-step process, the mines go through water blasting, which removes rust, barnacles and sea borne materials, extreme heat to dry the mines (500 degrees Fahrenheit), and are then painted using a powder paint system. Then, the interior portion of the mine is inspected to see if there is any water intrusion. If there is, the water will be removed and the gasket seals will be replaced.

At sea, minemen perform the opposite function of NMC's minemen. Because they do not build underwater mines, they are charged with the mission of ensuring the safe navigation of coalition forces.

"Mineman at sea perform the jobs of the Navy's quartermaster's, ensuring safe navigation; operations specialists, working in the Combat Information Center disseminating strategic and tactical information for operation warfare commanders; boatswain's mates where they provide basic seamanship skills used in anchoring, replenishments-at-sea for fuel, parts and food, and gunner's mates, running the ships armory and Anti-Terrorist Force Protection program," said Lt. Christopher Weddell, NMC executive officer.

NMC houses one of only two U.S. Navy mine units in the country, and the only mine unit on the eastern seaboard.