Palmetto High grad continues 75 years of Seabee tradition

Palmetto High grad continues 75 years of Seabee tradition

Petty Officer Third Class Elijohana Hernandez
(Photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Tom Gagnier)

“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. Miami native and 2013 Miami Palmetto Senior High School graduate, Navy Petty Officer Third Class Elijohana Hernandez, builds and fights around the world from Gulfport, MS.

Hernandez works as a steelworker, which is responsible for standing up infrastructure such as classrooms and medical buildings, and laying down concrete for sidewalks.

“In high school, while working in retail, I developed problem solvinig skills,” Hernandez said. “This skill set has come in handy with junior sailors who come to me with difficult situations of their own.”

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 Admiral 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 am proud to have been selected to Petty Officer Third Class off of my first advancement exam,” Hernandez said.

Serving in the Navy allows people to create a legacy for the next generation.

“I am proud to serve in the Navy because it brings honor and a sense of pride knowing that I am part of the one percent of those who want to serve and can,” Hernandez added.

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