Seabee Betty Legacy Remembered

By JoAnna Delfin, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs and Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Joshua Norrick, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Public Affairs

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PITI, Guam (June 20, 2013)  Capt. John Heckmann, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas commanding officer, listens as Seabee Debbie, Debbie Peredo, speaks during a remembrance ceremony for her mother, Seabee Betty.  The ceremony was to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the passing of Vicenta Chargualaf Peredo, affectionately known as “Seabee Betty.”  Seabee Betty was a native of Guam and known for her welcoming parties for Seabees and other armed forces service members to Guam.  (U.S. Navy photo by Construction Mechanic Second Class Joshua A. Norrick/Released)

PITI, Guam — Sailors, personnel from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas, Soldiers from the 84th Engineering Battalion,  Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 and family and friends gathered to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the passing of Vicenta Chargualaf Peredo, affectionately known as “Seabee Betty” at Guam Veterans Cemetery in Piti, Guam, June 20.

Born in 1934, in the village of Yona, Seabee Betty established a relationship with service members in the 1950s, and was a temporary mother and friend to thousands of Seabees until her death in 2003.  She hosted welcome and farewell parties for each Seabee battalion stationed on the island and fostered a family spirit among the commands and island community.

Capt. John Heckmann, NAVFAC Marianas commanding officer, recalled his memories of meeting Seabee Betty and discussed the significance of remembering who she was.

“Commemorating the tenth year since Seabee Betty’s passing is an opportunity to celebrate a life and legacy that really demonstrates the very essence of the welcoming Guam culture that we know and love,” he said.  “We honor her memory not only in our remembrance of her life, but also by emulating her actions in the kindness we show to others.”

Debbie Peredo, daughter of Seabee Betty, spoke at the memorial about her mother.

“All the kids were excited because Seabee Betty was the only one who could bring all of the military to the village,” said Debbie.  “All they needed was three big buses and maybe two convoy trucks, and we would have about 200 of them [Seabees] sitting at Seabee Betty’s place having a feast.”

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Soldiers assigned to the 84th Engineer Battalion (84th EN BN) share a laugh with Equipmentman Master Chief Frank Palmer, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 and Seabee Debbie, Debbie Peredo,  following a remembrance ceremony for her mother, Seabee Betty.  The ceremony was to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the passing of Vicenta Chargualaf Peredo, affectionately known as “Seabee Betty.”  Seabee Betty was a native of Guam and known for her welcoming parties for Seabees and other armed forces service members to Guam.  (U.S. Navy photo by Construction Mechanic Second Class Joshua A. Norrick/Released)

Equipment Operator 1st Class Joshua Harr, assigned to NMCB 5, recalled his deployment to Guam in 2002 with NMCB 40 when he went to a fiesta at Seabee Bettys.

“It was amazing,” Harr said.  “The whole battalion loaded into the old 5 ton cargo trucks and drove into the hills.  When we arrived at Seabee Betty’s house, it seemed like the entire village was out there to greet us.”

“It was a good feeling to be part of that.”

Since Betty’s passing, her daughter has taken on the title “Seabee Debbie.”  With the help of her family she has continued the legacy her mother created six decades ago.

“It is an honor and a blessing to carry on the legacy of our dearly beloved mother.” said Debbie.

“I would like to carry on my mom’s legacy forever and to celebrate her life with my Seabees and the rest of my armed forces.”

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PITI, Guam (June 20, 2013)  Electronics Technician 3rd Class Andrew Hallenbeck, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5, hugs Seabee Debbie, Debbie Peredo,  following a remembrance ceremony for her mother, Seabee Betty.  The ceremony was to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the passing of Vicenta Chargualaf Peredo, affectionately known as “Seabee Betty.”  Seabee Betty was a native of Guam and known for her welcoming parties for Seabees and other armed forces service members to Guam.  (U.S. Navy photo by Construction Mechanic Second Class Joshua A. Norrick/Released)