More than 500 people assembled in Crystal City, Va. March 9 for the annual celebration of the anniversaries of the Seabees, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC).
NAVFAC Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers Rear Adm. Kate Gregory hosted the special occasion to honor these organizations' past, present and future.
This year's ball marks the 71st anniversary of the Seabees, the 146th anniversary of the Civil Engineer Corps, and the 171st anniversary of NAVFAC, which was established in 1842 as the Bureau of Navy Yards and Docks.
Joan Bennett, widow of Seabee Medal of Honor recipient Construction Mechanic Third Class Marvin Shields, was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at the event. Shields was the first and only Seabee to receive the Medal of Honor. He was also the first Sailor to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam. She spoke of his accomplishments.
"Seabees believe he exemplified the ideals of a construction man and a fighting man by making the ultimate sacrifice to save his team members," Bennett said. "Marvin would have been embarrassed and humbled (to receive the Medal of Honor), and would have been the first to say that so many people did heroic things that day."
During the anniversary celebration, two Seabees were recognized for their outstanding achievements.
The Steelworker Second Class Robert D. Stethem Award, recognizing outstanding individual moral courage in support of Seabee traditions while conducting actual operations, went to Builder First Class (SCW) Nicholas Mileham of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11.
The Rear Admiral Lewis B. Combs award, named for the Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks under Admiral Ben Moreell during World War II, and is presented to the individual who has made the most outstanding contribution in perpetuating the legacy of Seabee, CEC, and NAVFAC accomplishments and traditions, went to Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Vollmer of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment.
Also during the event, the Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award was presented to 11 NAVFAC and Naval Construction Force employees, who were recognized for 20 or more years of "selfless and dedicated" service to NAVFAC, the 1st Naval Construction Division, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, or any subordinate unit.
This year's winners were:
*James Aitken, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Millington, Tenn.;
*Louis DiFilippo, NAVFAC Headquarters;
*Patricia Hankins, NAVFAC Atlantic;
*Ernesto Hinojosa, NAVFAC Southwest;
*Mary Ellen Kuhn, NAVFAC Atlantic;
*Ronald Matsuo, NAVFAC Far East;
*Arthur Mosley, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Jacksonville, Fla.;
*Carolyn Richard, First Naval Construction Division;
*Ernest Richardson, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Washington, D.C.;
*Raymond Taylor, NAVFAC Public Works Dept. Silverdale, Wash.;
*Robert Whitehorne, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic.