PORT HUENEME, Calif. — “We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the U.S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees,” for the past 75 years. Covington native and Covington High School graduate, Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Knepp, builds and fights around the world as a member of a naval construction battalion center located in Port Hueneme, Calif.
Knepp works as an utilitiesman in the Navy.
“I’m responsible for plumbing and heating ventilation and air conditioning,” said Knepp. “I also possess general carpentry skills to help with mission accomplishment.”
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, according to Lara Godbille, director of the U. S. Navy Seabee Museum.
“I really enjoy the camaraderie amongst the Seabees,” said Knepp. “I love all of my Seabee brothers and sisters.”
For the past 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 following earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
“I am proud of the hard work that Seabees do every day,” said Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. “Their support to the Navy and Marine Corps mission is immeasurable, and we look forward to the next seven decades of service.”
Seabees around the world will take part in a year-long celebration in 2017 to commemorate the group’s 75-year anniversary. The theme of the celebration is “Built on History, Constructing the Future.”
“Seabees deploy around the world providing expert expeditionary construction support on land and under the sea, for the Navy and Marine Corps, in war, humanitarian crisis and peace,” said Capt. Mike Saum, commodore, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1.
“Seabee resiliency, skill, and resolution under hostile and rough conditions prove our motto ‘We Build, We Fight.’ The Seabee patch we wear on our uniform signifies to the warfighter and civilian alike that they’re in good hands.”
Serving in the U.S. Navy has allowed Knepp to continue learning about himself and the legacy he wants to leave to future Seabees.
“The Seabees started during WWII and we’re still here after 75 years continuing to carry on the legacy and improving the quality of life for others all around the world,” said Knepp.