Seabees battalion gives back to community, wins Navy-wide service award
OKINAWA, Japan – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 was awarded three Navy-wide unit community service awards in the large sea-going command category for their volunteer efforts throughout 2018.
Seventy-five percent of the Seabees assigned to NMCB-3 volunteered throughout 2018, contributing to over 1,330 hours of community service at 19 different events while at their homeport in Port Hueneme, Calif., and while deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific Region.
“I look at the response rate of our volunteers as an indication of their value for what we have individually, and recognizing that were are in a place where we can make a difference by giving away our time for the benefit of others,” said Cmdr. Joseph Harder, commanding officer of NMCB-3. “The command has a climate that helps Seabees understand that just you being an American and serving your country with the character and heart you have, you have things to put out there to benefit America’s youth, and skills to go out there and build houses and clinics and do rehabilitation projects for people who don’t have the means to get it done on their own.”
The command was awarded the 2018 Personal Excellence Partnership Flagship Award for Community Service. The award is given annually to commands that go above and beyond to participate in community service activities that promote academics, life skills and civic education for youth. NMCB-3 has also earned the award for the previous two years.
NMCB-3 was also awarded the Project Good Neighbor Community Service Flagship Award, which recognizes the best year-round volunteer-supported programs or special project that promotes outreach activities throughout the year to establish and restore hope to the community by encouraging humanitarian assistance to the least fortunate. The command also earned this award for the previous two years.
The third award, the Navy Community Service Environmental Stewardship Flagship Award, highlights commands that exhibit strong commitment to environmental stewardship through volunteer service projects. This is second consecutive year NMCB-3 has earned the award.
NMCB-3 aims to build lasting partnerships with local non-profit organizations and city governments to provide meaningful volunteer efforts that add vitality to the community. The command uses small-unit leadership by empowering volunteer representatives to lead and spread the word about volunteer opportunities to maximize participation where Seabees can use their time and talents to improve their neighborhoods, communities, and the relationships with the people they impact.
“One major aspect of our commanding officer’s command philosophy is that of building character,” said Lt. Larry Jones, the command chaplain and community relations program leader. “I believe that volunteerism is a very important way to demonstrate character building because it calls for one to sacrifice and to put the needs of others as a priority even it's for a few hours at a time.”
The Seabees’ efforts have impacted over 3,300 members of the Port Hueneme, Calif. area community and over 1,800 members of the communities throughout the Indo-Pacific.
“The fact that we've earned these awards means that we have Sailors that are not only committed to the mission of responding to our nation's call to combat and provide humanitarian assistance but are also committed to the mission of connecting to communities both locally and in foreign nations,” said Jones.
The Seabees routinely volunteered at a local Port Hueneme Boys and Girls Club to tutor children in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects, cleared over 600lbs of trash from the local beaches, helped build five homes for families in need with Habitat for Humanity, and volunteered at local food banks and women’s shelters. The Seabees participated in several community and beach cleanups throughout the Indo-Pacific, clearing over 700lbs of trash and debris, volunteered at homeless shelters, and tutored and played games with over 1,800 children at local youth centers throughout the region.
“These awards represent what any anonymous Seabee at NMCB-3 is doing to go above and beyond outside of their responsibilities of coming to work and doing their job for the Navy,” said Harder. “They represent the very strong culture of Seabees trying to give back and make circumstances better for others who need help getting there. They represent an opportunity for every one of our Seabees who feel like they have the ability and desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves, and volunteering gives them an outlet to do so.”
NMCB-3 is forward-deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific region and the United States ready to support major combat operations, theater security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Seabees provide general engineering and civil support to Navy, Marine Corps and joint operational forces globally.