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Spokane-based Navy Seabees deploy to Afghanistan

Supporters help send off a group of Navy Seabees on yearlong mission to Afghanistan at Spokane’s Navy Operational Support Center on Thursday, March 25, 2010, in this photo submitted by reader Dawn Scartozzi, who was driving past the event. (Courtesy of Dawn Scartozzi)

Supporters hold sendoff for about 50 reservists

Navy Seabees from the Inland Northwest began deployment this morning for a yearlong mission to help build infrastructure in Afghanistan.

About 50 Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Detachment 0518 were to begin arriving at Spokane’s Navy Operational Support Center, 5101 N. Assembly St., at 8 a.m.

They were being sent off by members of the Patriot Guard Riders outside the center as well as members of the Navy League, VFW Post 51, Rotary Club and Seabee Veterans of America.

“This is a momentous occasion for our Seabees and their families. This is a time of major transition and we intend to make this day as positive an experience as possible,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kim Pizanti, the commanding officer of NOSC Spokane, in a press release.

The mission to Afghanistan involves drilling wells and building roads, military bases and other infrastructure. The effort involves about 600 battalion members from several western states and Guam.

The reservists previously spent six months in Iraq.