By Frank Whitman, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas Public Affairs
ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas Seabees gathered June 20 at Guam Veterans Cemetery to honor the legacy of the late Vicenta Chargualaf Peredo during her annual memorial service.
Peredo, who is fondly known as Seabee Betty, passed away 14 years ago and continues to be remembered for her warmth and hospitality toward thousands of Seabees who served on Guam over the course of more than five decades.
"Seabee Betty was a woman with a huge heart who offered unparalleled kindness and selfless dedication to thousands of Seabees throughout her life," said NAVFAC Marianas Commanding Officer Capt. Stephanie Jones in her remarks during the ceremony. "She embodied the warmth, hospitality and family spirit that are truly unique to the island and people of Guam."
Seabee Betty was born Sept. 10, 1934 and was raised in Yona, Guam. She developed a strong interest in the Seabees in 1952 and over the years she hosted welcome and farewell parties for each Seabee battalion stationed in Guam. She once said that she had fed thousands of Seabees at the fiesta-style meals she hosted.
One particularly memorable occasion was Christmas 1990, following the wrath of Typhoon Russ' visit to the island when two Reserve Seabee battalions arrived in Guam after being deployed to the island as a result of Operation Desert Shield. With her own resourcefulness and ingenuity, and the assistance of Navy wives organizations, she organized a fiesta-style Chamorro Christmas meal and fed more than 500 Seabees.
She was also known to help Seabees plan traditional Chamorro weddings and otherwise assist Seabees thousands of miles from home, often away for the first time.
Due to the positive impact she had on so many service members, she was recognized by chiefs of naval operations, U.S. senators, other military leadership and President Ronald Reagan. She was also inducted into the Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, California - only the second civilian after John Wayne to receive that honor.
Seabee Betty died June 9, 2003 and was interred June 20, 2003. The following year, June 20 was declared Seabee Betty Day by the then governor of Guam.
In March 2008, the main road transiting Camp Covington on Naval Base Guam was renamed Seabee Betty Drive in her honor.
Seabees of Naval Mobile Combat Battalion (NMCB) 1 attended the ceremony and were recognized for their enduring contributions. "These Seabees have delivered unmatched dedication and service to our military community through hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction projects and improvements, and hundreds of volunteer hours in community service to our island home," she said.
Seabee Betty recognized 'Can-Do' dedication through her island hospitality and "helped strengthen bonds between the military and the people of Guam through her service to the military community," Jones said.
After the ceremony, family and friends gathered around Seabee Betty's grave and released three dozen red, white and blue balloons. The event culminated with a reception and refreshments at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park Asan Beach Unit.