By CECN Curtis Lee, NMCB 3
Sancho Johnson and Chris Suter, wounded warrior participants, prepare for the cycling event during wounded warriors training, Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif., June 3. (Photo by CECN Curtis Lee/150603-N-VY938-002)
Eleven Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 volunteered to assist wounded warriors during their training at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Port Hueneme, Calif., May 29 – June 4.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), once a program to help provide comfort items to wounded service members, has now grown into a rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they transition to the civilian life. The Seabee volunteers helped make the wounded warriors’ week-long stay even more comfortable.
According to Builder Constructionman Lane Wolfe, NMCB 3, the volunteers took turns driving the wounded warriors to their hotel, to meals and to all events on base. Wolfe was able to connect and get to know some of the wounded warriors in the process.
“It feels great to talk to them!” said Wolfe. “They talked about what they have been through in their careers which gave me an insight on what to look forward to when I deploy for the first time.”
During this event, Senior Chief Equipment Operator Pamela Leith, NMCB 3’s Echo Company 1st Platoon chief, was reunited with her brother, Steven Lee, a wounded warrior.
“I was very proud he was selected to be a part of the WWP…it’s a wonderful sight to see your loved one once again enjoying life to its fullest,” said Leith. “Being able to participate in the wounded warriors games has given him not only camaraderie of being around other service members, but also the exercise, support, sharing and being a part of a team…The friends he has made in this organization are priceless and I’m so happy he’s a part of it.”
According to Lee, retired Navy aviation mechanic first class, his military career was cut short due to a spinal injury back in 2009. Since then, WWP would call every year to invite him to join the program. Last year, he decided to finally give it a shot.
“I never got involved at first until I participated in the trials last year at Norfolk, Virginia.” Lee said. “I’m in a town where there aren’t too many prior military so it feels good to come back and be around people who know what I’ve been through and speak the same terminology.”
“I don’t see my sister very much. When we were both active duty we would only see each other once every 4 to 5 years. Now that I’m retired and part of WWP, I get to see her more than I used to,” he said.
The Naval Construction Force (NCF) is a vital component of the U.S. maritime strategy. The NCF provides deployable battalions capable of providing disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance and combat operations support.
EO3 Luke Mora, CMCN Winfred Forrest and CMCN Ryan Bobinger, NMCB 3, and a group of wounded warriors with their family, pose for a photo during wounded warriors training, Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif., June 4. (Photo by CECN Curtis Lee/150604-N-VY938-003)