Story by MC2 Benjamin Stevens, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 Public Affairs
PORT HUENEME, Calif. – A memorial was held October 2, 2018 on board Naval Base Ventura County to remember Utilitiesmen 2nd Class Aaron Esala. Esala was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4. Seabees from NMCB-4 and from across the base gathered on what would have been Esala’a 27th birthday to commemorate his life and service to the nation.
Esala passed away on September 5, 2018 from injuries sustained in a traffic accident in Littlerock, California.
Born October 2, 1991 in Ashland, Wisconsin, Esala enlisted in the Navy in 2013 to carry on a Seabee legacy begun by his great-grandfather, Wilho Esala, who was a member of one of the original outfits of Seabees called the “Bobcat Seabees.” It was one of his goals to deploy to Guam and walk the land his great-grandfather had served during World War II.
Esala was first stationed at Public Works Department Souda Bay, Greece before being assigned to NMCB-4. In 2016, he deployed to Diego Garcia, where he and his fellow Seabees constructed a dog kennel facility along with a variety of other projects in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s theater objectives. In 2017, he deployed to Timor-Leste, where he served as a crew leader for 15 Seabees. His efforts provided education and health facilities which greatly enhance quality of life for the Timorese citizens.
Esala’s impact was deeply felt in Timor-Leste, where the U.S. Ambassador and Embassy staff organized a remembrance ceremony in honor of him on September, 14, 2018.
Affectionately known as “Truck” to his fellow Seabees, a sobriquet associated with his stature and large-than-life personality, he was a beloved husband, son, brother and friend to all he met. Always willing to lend a hand to others, he embodied the Seabee moto, “With compassion for others, we build, we fight for peace with freedom.” He will be greatly missed by all that had the honor to serve with him.