PORT HUENEME, Calif. - “We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the U. S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees,” for more than seven decades. The Navy Seabees are an elite group of personnel trained in both combat and the craft skills of the construction industry.
Constructionman Hunter Peralta, a native of Madison, New Jersey, builds and fights around the world as a member of naval construction battalion center located in Port Hueneme, California.
Peralta is serving as a Navy construction mechanic, who is responsible for maintaining cranes and bulldozers and conducting various construction projects for his battalion.
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, according to officials with the U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command. These are the kinds of people being trained at Port Hueneme, to provide crucial support to Seabee units deployed around the world.
The jobs of some of the Seabees today have 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, said Lara Godbille, director of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum.
“I like the camaraderie that I share with my fellow Seabees, we are like one big family, we look out for one another,” Peralta said.
Seabees have served in all American conflicts for nearly 80 years. They have also supported humanitarian efforts using their construction skills to help communities around the world following earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Peralta is a 2015 Madison High School graduate. According to Peralta, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Madison.
“I learned from my parents and teachers on how to properly communicate with people and network efficiently to further my career opportunities,” Peralta said.
Port Hueneme is the West Coast homeport of the Navy’s Seabees. It’s one of five learning sites in the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering domain. They train and develop sailors, soldiers, airman, and Marines in construction trades and military skills for Department of Defense operating forces to accomplish contingency and peacetime construction, chemical, biological, and radiological operations, and humanitarian assistance missions worldwide.
Port Hueneme and the men and women who serve there play a key role in the Navy’s broader mission of protecting American interests on the world’s oceans.
According to Navy officials, maintaining maritime superiority is a vital part of a Navy that is present today and prepared for tomorrow. The impact affects Americans and their interests around the world, as more than 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water and 90 percent of all trade travels by sea.
The foundation of the Navy the nation needs includes a focus on warfighting, warfighters and the future of the fighting force.
“I am confident that we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “We will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Peralta is most proud of being selected for accelerated advancement in Constructionman ‘A’ School for receiving the highest marks in his class.
“I wasn't the best student before I enlisted so I enjoy seeing how the Navy has improved me both as a person and sailor,” Peralta said.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Peralta, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Peralta is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My great-grandfather on my mother's side served in the European Theater during WWII, my grandfather from my father’s side, was an officer in the Army Corps of Engineering, and my father served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman in the nineties,” Peralta said. “I'm happy to continue the tradition of carrying the family name serving our country.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Peralta, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“I'm proud to continue the image set forth by the Seabees that came before us and pave the way for our successors,” Peralta said.
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