Skip to comments.U.S. Navy Seabees Receive Purple Hearts [three from NMCB 4, Port Hueneme]
Posted on 11/20/2004 12:53:52 PM PST by Mike Fieschko
NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. (NNS) -- Three Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 received Purple Hearts during a ceremony held Nov. 16 at Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme, Calif., in recognition of their wounds sustained in action while serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Chief of Civil Engineers Rear Adm. Michael Loose presented the awards to Master Chief Constructionman Martin Yingling, Chief Equipment Operator Darion Williams, and Steelworker 3rd Class Justin Sasser.
Assigned to Task Force Echo, they were injured through indirect fire from a rocket attack Sept. 4 while working in Camp Fallujah, Iraq. Steelworker 3rd Class Eric Knott, who was killed during the same attack, was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in September.
Friends and family of the Purple Heart recipients attended the ceremony, along with more than 1,000 Seabees from 31st Seabee Readiness Group, NMCB 40, NMCB 5 and NMCB 3.
Today, NMCB 4 is deployed across the globe, operating in three theaters, supporting three unified commands. From the Caribbean to Europe to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, they are personifying our can-do rally cry, said Loose. There is no doubt in my mind that every Seabee in NMCB 4 is with you in spirit today, he said to the award recipients.
Loose said the ceremony was to honor all Seabees, since they carry the global war on terrorism to foreign shores in hopes of never fighting on American shores.
I thank each and every one of you for wearing the cloth of our nation, for your many sacrifices and for your distinguished, selfless service, Loose said. Freedom and liberty are not innate rights. They are precious, they are priceless, and they are a great gift that have to be earned, protected and defended at all costs."
After the pinning, Seabees and civilians alike stood in line to shake the hands of the men who nearly lost their lives, offering their thanks in remembrance of the one who did.
You dont win this award, Yingling said. I feel honored that I was able to come home alive; that I was able to serve my country, he said.
The rocket explosion injured his ankles and left leg, but only hours after his first surgery, Yingling, with nearly 25 years of military service, offered his life to his country once more by reenlisting.
Take a look at America, thats why," said Yingling. "Thats all that matters."
Sasser, who still wears a cast on his left arm, was also hit with shrapnel during the explosion. A bruised nerve in his arm limits movement of his fingers and wrist, but he said the damage isnt permanent and he should be fully recovered in a few more months.
Although the battalion doesnt return to home port for at least three more months, Sasser, despite his wishes, will not join them back in Iraq for this deployment.
Its nice to get this award, but I would rather be with the troops, with my guys in Iraq, Sasser said. They are like my family. They are probably worried about me, and I am worried about them."
For related news, visit the Naval Base Ventura County Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/nbvc.
Seabees are usually the "invisible" troops.
Quid quid nominatur fabricatur bump
God Bless the Seabees!! Go Navy.
Does my memory fail me? I seem to recall a companion story that described the exact details of this incident including a near hit on an Admiral who came to address the troops.
It is not listed with the Seabees keyword.
Seven local Seabees killed in Iraq
Seven Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 14, a reserve unit based at NAS Jackson-ville, were killed in Iraq over the weekend as a result of two separate incidents.
The Department of Defense has confirmed the death of the seven Seabees who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason Dwelley, 31, of Apopka, Fla., and Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Dickerson, 33, of Eastman, Ga., died Friday when their military vehicle hit an explosive device while traveling in a U.S. military convoy headed for the town of Ramadi in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael C. Anderson, 36, of Daytona, Fla.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Trace W. Dossett, 37, of Orlando, Fla.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott R. McHugh, 33 of Boca Raton Fla.; Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert B. Jenkins, 35 of Stuart, Fla.; andÊ Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald A. Ginther, 37 of Auburndale, Fla., were killed Sunday by hostile fire as the Seabee unit gathered in the courtyard at Camp Fallujah in the Al Anbar province to welcome Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, commander of the 1st Naval Construction Division.
According to Miriam Lareau, deputy public affairs officer for Commander Navy Region Southeast, NMCB-14's role in Iraq has been in humanitarian aid missions. ''The unit has been working around the clock to improve water and sewage treatment and re-establish electricity,'' she said.
I will untangle the details soon.
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