My Puerto Rico Deployment
I finished Officer Candidate School at the end of August and found out I would be going to Naval
Mobile Construction Battalion 74, which was deployed to Puerto Rico at the time. So I joined them half
way through their deployment. I got down to Puerto Rico in the middle of September and was made the
The island of Puerto Rico was very beautiful for the most part, as you can see in the pictures below.
It was very humid and would rain for about 10 minutes every day. The officers took several trips into the
rainforest where there beautiful views and rivers that we got to cliff dive into. The thing I didn't like
was the attitudes around Puerto Rico. There were nice people there, but most of them were very lazy and
just trashed their Island. They also weren't for the most part friendly to American military. We actually
got the middle finger from an old lady one day when we had to drive downtown in a military vehicle.
Then we also had one time when an old man bought us a round of beers to show his support, so it was mixed
|The entrance to our camp.
||The view from my barracks room.
|A waterfall in the rainforest.
||A picture taken in Old San Juan.
As the Engineering Officer, I was part of the operations department, so I was overseeing the surveyors and
soil testing, but also helped with the required operational reports that had to be done. Our projects
down there included an expansion of the Navy Exchange, building a veterinarian clinic, and rehabilitating
a barracks. We also received a request for a Commanding Officer Discretionary Project which I was put in
charge of. The project consisted of building a deck for the visiting Admiral's quarters. There are
pictures of the deck below. It was tricky because of how steep the slope was. At the end of November it was time for our battalion to come back to Mississippi. We leave a
delayed party back, so since I came late, I was on the delayed party as the vertical construction company
commander. This meant I had about 50 people working for me (see the picture of the crew below). Our big
task was to finish the Naval Exchange Expansion. We were almost done, but ran into a problem rolling the
corrugated metal awning into a quarter circle. Our prime vendor in the states said that no one in Puerto
Rico could do it and we would have to ship it in from San Antonio for $17,000. There was a good chance too
that it wouldn't be delivered in time for our turnover. I couldn't believe that they couldn't do it in Puerto
Rico so I made some phone calls and drove down to a metal culvert maker and bargained and pleeded. He
finally said he would give it a try. It worked, and he did it for $7,000 and delivered it a week early.
It felt good to be able to make such a big contribution having only been on board for a few months. We
finally left in December and returned to Mississippi. I was in Mississippi until the middle of January
when I went to California for 3 months for a Navy School.
|The view I had each morning eating breakfast.
|The deck I supervised.
||Me and the crew for the project.
|The picture of the awning that gave us problems.
||Overall picture of the Exchange project.