New Bethlehem Native Exemplifies “We Build, We Fight” Legacy of U.S. Navy Seabees
(Article by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne, Navy Office of Community Outreach. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Griffin Kersting.)
Petty Officer 2nd Class Edward Thompson, a 2006 Redbank Valley High School graduate and native of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, builds and fights around the world as a member of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, located in Little Creek, Virginia.
Thompson is serving as a Navy equipment operator, who is responsible for operating heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators and backhoes.
Thompson credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in New Bethlehem.
“While growing up I learned about having a good work effort,” said Thompson.
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.
Thompson 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, Thompson is most proud of deploying to Al-kut, Iraq in 2008.
“I was proud to take part in such a worthy cause and help the people who lived in horrible situations,” said Thompson.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Thompson, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Thompson is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My brother currently serves on submarines in the Navy and I have an uncle who served during Vietnam,” said Thompson.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Thompson 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 is a great opportunity and a chance to learn a trade that can be applied to the private sector after separating,” said Thompson. “To stand up for this country, the citzens and our flag is why I serve.”
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