Story by Builder 3rd Class Alexa Trafton, NMCB 1
NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (March 27, 2017) Sparks fly at the bottom of the faded cobalt blue arm of a paint-chipped, rusty statue. The worn statue displays its well-seasoned character with honor, even in its dilapidated state. It serves as an iconic image known throughout the Navy, as a sign of hard working Sailors. The approximately 20 foot tall statue of a bee holding a hammer, wrench and a machine gun is the logo of the U.S. Navy Seabees, and it represents the community’s motto “We Build, We Fight”.
At the entrance of Camp Mitchell on board Naval Station Rota, Spain, two Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 Seabees weld the Seabee statue during a restoration project to bring back its original luminosity. For Steelworker 3rd Class Tyler Alberts, this is a welcomed project. It gives him an opportunity to refine his skills, while passing on knowledge to a junior Sailor.
“I want to pass on anything I learn to others. I want to develop myself to be well-rounded, as well as other people,” said Alberts. “I feel that it’s easier to learn when you can relate to someone, so I do my best to relate to all my guys, as well as my seniors.”
Prior to serving, Alberts worked in construction with his father and as a mechanic. He had a knack for working with his hands. When deciding what Navy rating he wanted to pursue, he reflected on his previous experience and knew he was interested in learning about the construction fabrication process thus he selected Steelworker.
“I wanted to see what being a Steelworker had to offer me. I have worked in carpentry construction with my dad, and I really wanted to get outside of that. I wanted a good trade that was in high demand that I had not tried.” Alberts said.
In the Navy, Steelworkers perform tasks directly related to fabrication and erection of pre-engineered structures, to include steel reinforcement, control job site deployment of materials and equipment, and direct and coordinate training efforts for crews who fabricate, assemble, erect, position and join structural members and fabricated sections.
During this deployment, Alberts oversees the Steelworker shop on daily operations, consisting of fixing and maintaining steel structures on camp, ranging from fencing to signs and even statues. While managing the daily work flow of the shop, Alberts makes the time to teach Steelworker Constructionmen about the trade.
“Alberts is really a great person to learn from. He understands that everyone isn’t up to the same level,” said Steelworker Constructionman Adam Lewit. “He works to make sure that he’s understandable while explaining technique and how things function. He takes the time to make sure it sinks in and that I’ve got it under control.”
While working on the Seabee, Alberts taught Lewit the operation of the welding machine and required safety measures. When Lewit demonstrated he was ready, Alberts stepped back, observed and provided guidance only when necessary.
“I want to develop a well-rounded mindset in as many people as I can, a hard work ethic, and a curiosity for knowledge,” said Alberts. “I want people to want to master their rates, as well as maybe step outside the box and verse themselves in other things, so they can be multi-faceted on a job site.”
“Alberts is a tremendous asset to camp maintenance and the battalion. He has a drive to learn and take on responsibility,” said Chief Utilitiesman Nick Romano, the chief of camp maintenance. “He continues to influence junior sailors to better themselves professionally, time and time again.”
Since checking into NMCB 1, Alberts has worked on multiple projects and small jobs around camp, and he plans to continue making the most of his time in battalion. He hopes to polish his welding skills, and to pass on that knowledge to his peers.
“Being here has given me an opportunity to challenge myself in ways that I didn’t think that I could,” said Alberts. “It’s given me a chance to become more multi-faceted, and my goal while I am here is to pass that on, that desire for learning.”