Jacksonville, Fla. — The 2013 Seabee Anniversary Ball took place at the Omni Hotel in Jacksonville March 9 celebrating the Seabees’ 71st, Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s (NAVFAC) 171st, and Civil Engineer Corps’ (CEC) 146th birthdays.
Seabees attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14, Construction Battalion Mobile Unit 202 detachments Jacksonville and Kings Bay, civilians and CEC Officers from NAVFAC Southeast, service members from other military branches, and distinguished guests took part in the formal event recognizing the many contributions of the Seabees throughout history. This year’s celebration had over 300 in attendance.
NAVFAC Southeast Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Kiwus spoke about the importance and relevance of the Seabee force in today's Navy acknowledging Seabees from the tri-base area and thanked them for their dedication.
"NAVFAC has a fantastic reputation and I am honored to be part of the team," said Kiwus. “We have been entrusted with the Warfighters’ schedules and requirements and we must be vigilant to not allow these special trusts to be wasted or abused.”
Kiwus introduced the guest speaker, Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, Commander, Navy Region Southeast, who shared some of the history and his personal experiences with the Seabees.
“We pause to think about the Seabees every March to celebrate their establishment soon after Pearl Harbor and to this very day because they have always answered our Nation’s call to service,” said Scorby. “It is hard to believe that at the high point during World War II, there were over 300,000 Seabees supporting the war effort which is almost as many Sailors as we have in our entire Navy today.”
Scorby thanked the spouses of Seabees as he understands the challenges faced with the many deployments they support. He mentioned it is important to recognize the sacrifices of a Seabee family in support of the Navy family.
“You know you are a Seabee spouse if you can fix the refrigerator, the washer and do an oil change while your Seabee is on deployment,” joked Scorby while reading answers Seabee wives made to the question, “You know you are a Seabee spouse if.”
Rear Adm. Scorby and Capt. Kiwus devoted time to present the Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award to Arthur Mosley with Public Works Department Jacksonville. The award is granted to persons recognized for 20 or more years of "selfless and dedicated" service to NAVFAC, the 1st Naval Construction Division, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, or any subordinate unit.
Senior Chief Steelworker Jose Torres, NAVFAC Southeast senior enlisted advisor, attended the anniversary ball with his wife Kerri and their 17 year-old son, Carlos.
“It has been a great honor to be able to serve my time in the Navy as a Seabee,” said Torres. “As a Seabee, I have had the chance to make a positive impact to world events supporting forward deployed Sailors, Marines, Airman and Soldiers. We have a proud history since our inception and I am glad I have been part of some of legendary events other services remember about Seabees.”
Torres noted he was pleasantly surprised to see so many local Seabees come together to celebrate their 71st birthday.
“We came together to make it a great time for all,” said Torres.