Seabees, Civil Engineer Corps and NAVFAC Celebrate Unique Heritage

By Don Rochon, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs
Photos by MC1(SW/AW) Chris Thien, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs

Rear Adm. Kate Gregory, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, welcomes Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens to the Seabee/CEC/NAVFAC Anniversary Ball Mar. 7 in Arlington, Va.

More than 500 people assembled in Arlington, Va. Mar. 7 for the annual celebration of the anniversaries of the Seabees, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC).

NAVFAC Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers Rear Adm. Kate Gregory hosted the special ball to honor these organizations’ past, present and future.

“Tonight we honor all of our Seabees, CEC officers and NAVFAC civil servants working around the world in support of our great Navy and nation,” said Gregory. “It is truly an honor to serve with you.”

This year’s ball marks the 73rd anniversary of the Seabees, the 148th anniversary of the Civil Engineer Corps, and the 173rd anniversary of NAVFAC, which was established in August 1842 as the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the event.

“From humanitarian efforts in the Pacific, to civil-military operations in Thailand, and a sustained 13 years of combat operations in the Middle East, Seabees have truly lived up to their motto, ‘We Build, We Fight,’” said Stevens.

“Tonight we come together not only for the birthday of our Seabees, but also to celebrate the long-lasting legacy of NAVFAC and the Civil Engineer Corps,” he continued. “The positive impact that NAVFAC has on the department of the Navy cannot be overstated. Your support to our expeditionary programs and shore infrastructure, our utility and energy programs, our small businesses, and one that is very near-and-dear to my heart, military construction projects, is truly impressive.”

IMG_0723 (OldYoung1a)During a time-honored Seabee Ball tradition, Rear Adm. Kevin Slates gives the thumbs up as it is announced that he is this year’s oldest Seabee honoree. Standing next to him is SWCA Konor Everett, the youngest Seabee at the event. Coincidentally, they both have the same birthday.

During the anniversary celebration, two Seabees were recognized for their outstanding achievements last year by the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation.

The Steelworker Second Class Robert D. Stethem Award, recognizing outstanding individual moral courage in support of Seabee traditions while conducting actual operations, was awarded to Senior Chief Utilitiesman (SCW) Steven Harvey of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3.

IMG_0662 (Stethem1)Former NAVFAC Commander Rear Adm. (Ret.) David Nash, representing the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation, presents the Steelworker Second Class Robert D. Stethem Award to Senior Chief Utilitiesman (SCW) Steven Harvey.

IMG_0664 (Combs1)NAVFAC Commander Rear Adm. Kate Gregory presents the Rear Adm. Lewis B. Combs Award to Chief Construction Electrician (SCW/EXW) Cory Wright.

The Rear Adm. Lewis B. Combs award, named for the Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks under Adm. Ben Moreell during World War II, is presented to the individual who has made the most outstanding contribution in perpetuating the legacy of Seabee, CEC, and NAVFAC accomplishments and traditions.

This year’s award went to Chief Construction Electrician (SCW/EXW) Cory Wright, NAVFAC Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Command.

Also during the event, the Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award was presented to four NAVFAC and Public Works Department employees, who were 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.

“This year’s awardees represent the very best of our public servants,” said Gregory. “Each has made a positive and enduring impact to the Department of the Navy by demonstrating exceptional professionalism, dedication to the welfare of their organizations and compassion for their colleagues for more than two decades.”

This year’s winners were:

Doris Castro, NAVFAC Marianas

Lillie Jensen, NAVFAC Southeast

Robert McCreary, Public Works Department Annapolis

James Schaffner, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic

IMG_0592 (Color Guard1)The Color Guard renders honors at the ball during the playing of the national anthem.

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