GULFPORT, Ms. – “We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the U. S. Navy's Construction Force, known as the “Seabees,” for more than 75 years.
GULFPORT, Ms. – “We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the U. S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees,” for more than 75 years.
Constructionman Cameron Appleyard, a 2016 Frankfort High School graduate and native of Fort Ashby,
builds and fights around the world as a member of naval construction battalion center located in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Appleyard is serving as a Navy builder, who is responsible for learning how to build various construction projects as well as possessing the ability to fight in a combat situation.
Appleyard credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Fort Ashby.
“Knowing everyone, or at least getting to know them, and seeing how you can help each other out is an important lesson to carry with you through life,” said Appleyard.
Building in austere environments can be a challenge. Fighting in harsh conditions can also be a challenge. Building in austere environments while fighting in harsh conditions takes a special kind of person with a great deal of perseverance and determination. These are the kinds of people serving here at Gulfport, the home of the Atlantic Fleet Seabees. These are the people who provide crucial support to Seabee units deployed around the world.
The jobs of many of today’s Seabees remained unchanged since World War II, when the Seabees paved the 10,000-mile road to victory for the allies in the Pacific and in Europe, according to Lara Godbille, director of the U. S. Navy Seabee Museum.
For more than 75 years Seabees have served in all American conflicts. They have also supported humanitarian efforts using their construction skills to help communities around the world. They aid following earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Appleyard is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy the Nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Appleyard is most proud of earning his aviation qualification earlier this year while serving aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“I had to study a lot to make sure I had the knowledge required of the aircraft carrier,” said Appleyard.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Appleyard, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Appleyard is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My pap (grandfather) was in Vietnam in the Army, and my great-grandfather was in World War II,” said Appleyard. "My dad was also in the Army. They influenced me to serve my country and do my part."
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Appleyard and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
"Serving in the Navy means I'm able to help others and carry on the role that others have played before me,” added Appleyard. “I'm learning to be a Seabee, which is a job I've dreamed about since eighth grade.”