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Navy Seabees 'Buzz' in GTMO

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070827-10
Release Date: 8/27/2007 3:03:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kimberly Williams, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- The Public Works Department (PWD) Seabees on board Naval Station (NAVSTA) Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) have completed several projects on board NAVSTA GTMO from April 2006 to August 2007 saving the Navy more than $100,000.

These jobs include everything from renovating the NAVSTA calibration laboratory to restoring the Morale, Warfare and Recreation boat pier. NAVSTA PWD Seabees are from Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast (NAVFAC-SE) in Jacksonville, Fla. These Sailors are stationed in GTMO to provide base support and minor projects, at a lower cost than contracting out certain jobs.

“We operate a base self-help shop,” said Construction Engineer 1st Class (SCW) Jean Guerrier, NAVFAC-SE assistant leading petty officer.

NAVSTA PWD Seabees are joined in GTMO several times throughout the year by deploying battalions from Gulfport, Miss., and Port Hueneme, Calif. Currently, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40, homeported in Port Hueneme, Calif., is in GTMO for its six-month deployment cycle.

“We are here to support USSOUTHCOM (U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command). We have been tasked with three major projects including completing construction of the firehouse on Leeward side that NMCB 133 started, construction of two units by housing self-help and depending on how the assessment goes, completing the GTMO river bridge,” said NMCB 40 Detachment GTMO Officer in Charge, Lt. j.g. Michael Collins.

Only 25 top-notch Seabees from NMCB 40 were handpicked from the entire battalion of 600 to form Detachment GTMO.

“It’s a privilege to be here. This is my first detachment with the Seabees. All of my hard work paid off,” said Steelworker 3rd Class (SCW) David Lopez, NMCB 40 fire team leader.

“We don’t destroy, we build. We make things that people can use to make their lives better ... the fact that we are helping humanity is very rewarding,” said Utilitiesman 2nd Class Rachel Thompson.

Seabees have a rich history with the Navy dating back to their formation in 1942. Their official motto, “Construimus, Batuimus" – translated into English as "We Build, We Fight,” is the principle in which the organization governs itself. There are currently approximately 17,000 Seabees, active and reserve, serving in the U.S. Navy.

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