Three Generations Strong – Builder Constructionman Follows in Family Footsteps

By BU1 Brandon Simons, Naval Construction Training Center

IMG_8066Standing next to his father, Sherwood, BUCN James Wilson is all smiles following his graduation at the Naval Construction Training Center in Gulfport, Miss. Jan. 22. (Photo by Equipment Operator 2nd Class Laura Trommer)

For the Wilson family, military service as a U.S. Navy Seabee is a tradition that spans three generations. William Woodrow Wilson, or “Woody” as his friends knew him, was the first to serve. He enlisted in 1942 as a Carpenters Mate and served with the 4th Battalion during WWII. Woody was deployed to multiple locations during his service including the Aleutian Islands Campaign. After serving and achieving the rank of Carpenters Mate 1st Class he returned to his family in Belington, W.Va.

In 1973, his son Sherwood G. Wilson, enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17. He attended Builder “A” School in Port Hueneme, Calif.  Wilson served with the 30th Naval Construction Regiment where he deployed to Guam and Okinawa.  After a break in service, he returned as a member of a Seabee reserve unit to serve in Operation Desert Storm. He has since earned a Ph.D. and is the Vice President of Administration for Virginia Technical University.

“I’m so proud of my son,” said Wilson. “There is no better organization for building character and no better place to find yourself than in the Seabees.”

Following in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, Constructionman Builder James Wilson is the newest family member to serve with the Seabees. Wilson graduated from the Builder “A” School at the Naval Construction Training Center, Gulfport, Miss., Jan. 22.

“I joined out of family tradition and plan on going back to school to get my degree,” said Wilson. “After that I hope to come back to the Seabees on active duty.”

Wilson will serve with the Seabee Reserves of Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC), Roanoke, Va.

For more information on the Naval Construction Training Center in Gulfport, Miss., visit their website at


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