Local sailor continues 75 years of Seabee tradition
PORT HUENEME, California – “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. Rigby, Idaho native and Rigby High School graduate, Petty Officer 1st Class Kensey Stephens, builds and fights around the world as a member of a naval construction battalion center located in Port Hueneme, California.
Stephens works as a construction mechanic in the Navy.
“I manage the equipment maintenance for all of the West Coast and deployed Pacific Seabees,” said Stephens.
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.
“What I like most about being a Seabee is the rich tradition and heritage,” said Stephens. “The miraculous accomplishments the Seabee community has accomplished throughout history is amazing.”
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.”
Serving in the U.S. Navy has allowed Stephens to continue learning about himself and the legacy he wants to leave to future Seabees.
“Having a construction force in the Navy is really unique,” said Stephens. “The Seabee community is vital to the Navy’s mission. This milestone helps to pay tribute to all of those who have served before me.”