VIRGINIA BEACH Va. – “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. Petty Officer 2nd Class Autumn Williams, a 2011 Booneville High School graduate and native of Booneville, Arkansas, builds and fights around the world as a member of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, located in Little Creek, Virginia.
Williams is serving as a Navy builder, who is responsible for doing constuction such as pouring concrete, masonry and framing.
Williams credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Booneville.
“I’m from a small town of about 4,000 people in it,” said Williams. “Being a Seabee, I am very understanding and familar with being in a small community.”
The mission of CBMU-202 is to provide contingency public works support at existing Navy main operating bases and forward operating bases as well as erection and operational support to Navy expeditionary medical facilities. They also provide disaster recovery support to Navy regional commanders throughout the United States and around the world.
“It’s an honor to lead this group of ‘Can Do’ Seabees,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Mazur, commanding officer, CBMU-202. “I’m inspired by the professionalism and dedication they exhibit every day and know they stand ready to answer the call.”
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.
Williams 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, Williams is most proud of going to third world countries to build schools and medical facilties for the people there.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child’s face who is so thankful for what we do for them,” said Williams.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Williams, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Williams is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My dad served as a Seabee construction mechanic,” said Williams.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Williams and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“There are times when you follow and times when you lead,” said Williams. “I’m not only proud to serve my country, but also help lead my country.”