Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Executive Director Jennifer LaTorre was recently named an honorary Seabee in recognition of her extraordinary and continuing support to NAVFAC and the Seabees, particularly during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Navy's chief of Civil Engineers and the force master chief of the Seabees grant the title of honorary Seabee to individuals whose efforts have promoted the Seabee legacy and reflect credibly toward the accomplishment of the overall Seabee and Navy missions.
"The people that we recognize with this award -- secretaries of state, admirals, generals, members of Congress -- they're impressive individuals," said Rear Adm. John Korka, NAVFAC commander and current chief of Civil Engineers. "As I look at this past year, there is one person that, to me, has brought our team together -- who has really made an impact on this entire command and the 20,000 people who support it. It's clearly appropriate to recognize Ms. LaTorre by making her an honorary Seabee."
"To bring the team together during a time of flux, uncertainty, chaos, and still maintain order, we could not have done it without her," added Korka. "We are all better because of her."
Seabees are the Navy’s uniformed construction forces, born of dire need at a time of national peril after the U.S. was stunned by the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. From the island-hopping campaign of World War II, to the cold of Korea, to the jungles of Vietnam, the mud of Bosnia and Kosovo, the sands of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the mountains of Afghanistan, and the oppressive heat of Iraq, the Seabees have built bases, bulldozed and paved thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplished a myriad of difficult construction projects. Seabees have fame, honor, and distinction as an organization that "can do" even when faced with seemingly impossible obstacles.
"When I first got here and heard about the [executive director] going out on site as an 'undercover boss,' that was motivating, and it meant a lot," said Force Master Chief of the Seabees Delbert Terrell. "Over the course of the last two years, she has never said 'no.' That 'can-do' attitude, even with so much on her plate -- she is clearly an inspiration and a role model."
LaTorre, who has served as NAVFAC executive director since 2015, is the senior civilian advisor to the NAVFAC commander and focuses on long-term strategic matters related to the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of the Navy shore infrastructure.
"I am so humbled to receive the honorary Seabee designation," said LaTorre. "To be recognized by such an amazing group of service members who remain ever ready to build, to fight, and to operate forward at moment's notice in support of our nation's warfighters, means so much, and I will cherish this award as one of the best of my career."