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. Bono, Ark. native and 2006 Westside High School graduate, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Connor, builds and fights around the world as a member of a naval construction battalion center located in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Connor works as an equipment operator which is responsible for operating all heavy equipment during Seabee construction.
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.
“My grandfather was my father figure and he was a great man and he had an incredible work ethic which I learned a lot from and use in my Navy career today,” said Connor.
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 received a Navy Achievement Medal in Afghanistan for humanitarian work which is nice because I know my work doesn't go unnoticed,” said Connor.
Serving in the Navy allows people to create a legacy for the next generation.
“I am very proud of serving and defending my country,” added Connor.