GULFPORT, Miss.- “We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the U. S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees”, for the past 75 years. Ely, Nevada native and 2000 White Pine general education graduate, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Jeffrey, builds and fights around the world as a member of a naval construction battalion center located in Gulfport, Mississippi.Jeffrey works as a construction mechanic which is responsible for repairing equipment. Currently he serves as a supervisor for seven Seabees.
“I joined the Navy because I was a mechanic while in high school,” said Jeffrey. “I had an after school job where I would clean trucks and change their oil. It made the most sense to join the Navy and continue doing what I know how to do.”
The jobs of some of the Seabees today have remained unchanged since World War II, when the Seabees paved the 10,000-mile road to victory for the allies in the Pacific and in Europe, according to Lara Godbille, director of the U. S. Navy Seabee Museum.
For the past 75 years Seabees have served in all American conflicts. They have also supported humanitarian efforts using their construction skills to help communities around the world. They aid following earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
“I am proud of the hard work that Seabees do every day,” said Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. “Their support to the Navy and Marine Corps mission is immeasurable, and we look forward to the next seven decades of service.”
Seabees around the world are taking part in commemorating the group’s 75-year anniversary this year. The theme of the celebration is “Built on History, Constructing the Future.”
“Seabees deploy around the world providing expert expeditionary construction support on land and under the sea, for the Navy and Marine Corps, in war, humanitarian crisis and peace,” said Capt. Mike Saum, commodore, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1. “Seabee resiliency, skill, and resolution under hostile and rough conditions prove our motto ‘We Build, We Fight.’ The Seabee patch we wear on our uniform signifies to the warfighter and civilian alike that they’re in good hands.”
According to Saum the Sailors who make up Seabee battalions are very driven and accomplished individuals.
“I have accomplished 10 deployments and have received seven Navy Achievement Medals mostly from my time in Iraq from 2003-2004,” said Jeffrey. “I was part of a team that completed 58 missions on the road.”
Serving in the Navy allows people to create a legacy for the next generation.
“I come from a military family and I am the first to serve in the Navy,” added Jeffrey. “I am proud to keep the tradition alive.”