“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.
Belleville native and 1996 Belleville High School graduate Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Basham builds and fights around the world as a member of a naval construction battalion center located in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Basham works as a construction mechanic which is responsible for instructing and teaching diesel and power trains and chasse and automotive AC, crane classes.
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.
“I had a couple of buddies that were joining the Navy and they motivated me to go and we went to MEPS and I got in,” said Basham.
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.
“My most humbling deployment was in response to the earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti,” said Basham. “We were part of the first responders. I received a Navy Commendation medal for providing humanitarian assistance.”
Serving in the Navy allows people to create a legacy for the next generation.
“Serving in the Navy means a lot to me, it is not something I thought I was going to do in life and I am so glad I did,” added Basham. “I enjoy the structure and camaraderie of the Navy.”
Written by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sawyer Juarez, Navy Office of Community Outreach