NMCB 5 Seabee Receives Stethem Award

By CE2 Caitlin N. Scott, NMCB 5


                           Builder 1st Class Mark Wells

Builder 1st Class Mark Wells, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5, was awarded the Robert D. Stethem award during a ceremony, March 5.

Wells received the award for his work while assigned as Detail Timor Leste’s operations chief and battalion quality control specialist during a U.S. Pacific Command deployment.

Named for Steelworker 2nd Class (DV) Robert Dean Stethem, this award recognizes outstanding individual moral courage in support of Seabee tradi­tions, while in the course of actual operations. Stethem was a victim of the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in June 1985, after being singled out from passengers as a U.S. Navy Sailor. He was killed by members of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah when their demands to release 766 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel were not met. He was returning home with fellow members of UCT 1 after completing a routine assignment in Greece. Stethem was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. In August 2010, he was frocked to the rank of honorary master chief petty officer.

“Unless you have given the ultimate sacrifice, not one individual truly deserves such recognition,” said Wells. “I was honored to receive this award on behalf of my team in Timor Leste. My Seabee brothers and sisters poured their hearts out building schools, maternity wards, and bridges supporting the communities in the country. I’m just humbled to have had the opportunity to serve.”

According to his award citation, Wells led a team of 11 remotely-located Seabees through unfavorable conditions, completing the construction of two cable suspension bridges spanning a cumulative 156 meters, and were completed in only 82 days. Additionally, he led 26 personnel to complete four humanitarian and civic assistance projects valued at $305,000, while tackling numerous logistical and environmental challenges.

“Petty Officer Wells has served with professionalism, pride, and humility since his arrival to NMCB 5 in April of 2014,” said Lt. Cmdr. William Moiles, operations officer. “His dedication to the mission, his Sailors, and our nation is unwavering. We are grateful and fortunate to have a Seabee of his caliber on our team.”

Wells is a native of Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines. Immigrating to the U.S. in November, 2003, he made his home in Virginia Beach until joining the Navy in 2005.

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 is currently preparing for their field training exercise (FTX). FTX is an exercise to ensure operational readiness in preparation for their fall deployment.

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