Former Alexandrian takes command of U.S. Navy Seabees battalion

Andy Olsen is the son of Al and Mary Lou Olsen, who attended the change in command ceremony at Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme, California on June 4.

Andy Olsen Military.jpg
Commander Ryan Carey (left) passes the battalion flag to Commander Andrew Olsen during Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5’s change of command ceremony at Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme, California, June 4. (U.S. Navy photo by Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Michael Schutt)

Andy Olsen, an Alexandria Jefferson High School graduate from 1998, attained another high military honor earlier this month.

Olsen, a commander in the U.S. Navy, took over base command of the Seabees Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 (NMCB-5), which will be based in Okinawa, Japan. He is the son of Al and Mary Lou Olsen.

They attended the change in command ceremony at Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme, California on June 4. Andy’s twin brother, Aaron from Oregon, and another brother, Aric of Ramsey, also attended.

The U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to NMCB-5 support worldwide combat and contingency operations, building advanced bases and conducting humanitarian recovery missions.

Olsen will relieve Commander Ryan Carey, who led the Seabees through a historic COVID-19 extended deployment. The Seabees worked on more than 40 projects taking 29,000 man-days of construction, according to a news release provided by Defense Visual Information Distribution Services.


Before arriving at NMCB-5, Olsen was the public works officer at Naval Base Ventura County.

Some of Olsen’s previous Navy tours include NMCB-4 as the officer in charge of Task Force Sierra Detachment 2 and Charlie Company Commander; First Naval Construction Division, Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as the aide to the commander.

Olsen also served as the Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Division director in Rota, Spain; NMCB-11’s operations officer in Gulfport, Mississippi; the staff civil engineer at U.S. Seventh Fleet, Yokosuka, Japan; and was the Civil Engineer Corps Lt. Cmdr. detailer at Navy Personnel Command.

Additionally, Olsen is a licensed professional civil engineer in Virginia, a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist, a Joint Professional Military Education Phase I credited officer, and a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), and the 2014 Admiral Ben Moreell Medal.

“To the amazing men and women of NMCB-5, thank you for your time and energy in preparing this wonderful ceremony. I look forward to serving as your commanding officer,” Olsen said in the news release. “I will work every single day to earn and keep your trust. I am 100% committed to each of you and our battalion. Together, we will continue to strive for excellence and keep our skills sharp while we adapt and overcome every challenge that we face together in this dynamic environment.”

NMCB-5 is homeported in Port Hueneme, California, and will deploy to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility in July 2021.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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