US Naval Construction Group 2 Welcomes Its First Woman Commander
Captain Constance Solina relieved Capt. Jeff Deviney as commander, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2, during a change of command ceremony on July 7 to become the first woman to commanded an NCG and all Atlantic-based Seabees. (The Seabee nickname is a heterograph of the initial letters "CB" from the words "Construction Battalion".)
Deviney, from Freer, Texas, led 4,500 personnel over the course of two years and oversaw their manning, training, and equipment readiness needs to ensure they deployed on time to five separate combatant commands. During his departing remarks, Deviney expressed gratitude for his crew and reiterated Solina’s ability to continue the unit’s success during her tenure.
“You know exactly what needs to be done to get the Seabees ready for the next fight,” said Deviney. “With you in the lead, I know we have the right team in place going forward.”
Solina is from McLean, Virginia, and most recently served as the Chief Engineer, Logistics Directorate for U.S. European Command before reporting to NCG 2.
“I am humbled, privileged and honored to assume command of NCG 2 and continue the tradition of Seabees providing a capability like no other to our Combatant Commanders,” said Solina. “I look forward to continuing the Seabee legacy, drawing on our rich history and traditions while adapting to the changing strategic environment to answer the call when our Nation needs Seabees and the ‘Can-Do’ spirit.”
Solina’s assumption of command marks another milestone of women in the Seabees and civil engineer corps. Since Ens. Kathleen F. Lux, became the first women to become a civil engineer corps officer in 1942, Seabee women have risen through both the officer and enlisted ranks.
Constructionman Carmella Jones became the first enlisted woman Seabee when she cross-rated into the community as an equipment operator during the summer of 1972 following former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr.’s issuance of Z-gram 116 which authorized limited entry of women into all enlisted ratings.
Rear Adm. (ret.) Katherine Gregory was the first woman to command a battalion when she assumed command of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 in 1999. Gregory later rose to the rank of rear admiral before she retired as Naval Facilities Engineering Command and the chief of civil engineers in 2015.