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Navy offers help to Seabee families

Event planned in advance of unit’s deployment to Afghanistan

Families of some 50 Afghanistan-bound Navy Seabees will be offered a variety of assistance at a daylong event Feb. 21 in Spokane.

Speakers and service provider booths will have information about a host of issues spouses and children will face March 28 when Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 18 reservists begin a nine-month deployment.

Family Day will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Navy Operational Support Center, 5101 N. Assembly St.

“This family readiness conference is really important for the families to make connections to the staff here so we can help them,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kim Pizanti, the support center’s commanding officer.

Psychological, medical and financial stresses all will be addressed. Counselors and consultants from numerous military support organizations will be on hand.

Pizanti said child care will be provided.

She said the 50 to 60 Seabees who will ship out from the Spokane center are part of an overall mobilization of about 600 battalion members. Thirteen operational support centers in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska and Guam are involved.

Many of the sailors departing here are Spokane-area residents, but Pizanti said others are from around the Northwest.

She said battalion members will spend seven months in Afghanistan, drilling wells and building roads, military bases and other infrastructure for civilians as well as Army and Marine Corps units. Training and other activities will add about two months to the call-up.

The Seabee reservists did a six-month tour of Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

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