By MC1 David Wyscave
“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. Plant City native Petty Officer 1st Class Wayne Hancock, builds and fights around the world as a member of a naval construction battalion center located in Port Hueneme, California.
Hancock works as a logistics specialist in the Navy. “As a logistics specialist I’m responsible for the financial aspects of the battalion,” said Hancock. “I balance the budget and ensure all the logs are up to date. My job is essential because if we don’t have the funds to support the mission we won’t be able to ensure mission accomplishment.”
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.
“It’s a close knit community and you get to know everyone,” said Hancock. “I like the family-like atmosphere.”
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 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 will take part in a year-long celebration in 2017 to commemorate the group’s 75-year anniversary. 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.”
“The anniversary is important because it gives people a chance to recognize the heritage,” said Hancock. “The Seabees are a unique force because they are critical to the Navy’s overall mission accomplishment.”