Mid-Michigan remembers role of Navy Seabees - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Mid-Michigan remembers role of Navy Seabees

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(11/12/12) - Many communities paused to honor their veterans Monday, but a Mid-Michigan woman wants to make sure one military group is not forgotten. While they don't get a lot of attention, the work they've done is vital to any war effort.

"People don't realize what a Seabee is or what they did," said Yvonne Sova, a writer.

Starting in World War II and continuing today, Navy Seabees - short for construction battalion- have had an all-important mission - getting U.S military equipment and supplies where they need to be.

"They couldn't have landed the planes, landed the ships and driven the troops across there without the preparation they did," Sova said.

The WWII diary of Seabee Joseph Vermette of Flushing is priceless to his daughter.

"My dad loved this country very, very much and he couldn't wait to go to war," said Dawn Vermette Shapiro.

Although Vermette died six weeks ago, his diary entries live on - telling of his work on islands across the South Pacific.

"A lot of airbases, a lot of corduroy roads, they called them corduroy because they were built of timbers," Shapiro said.

A Seabees life wasn't glamorous, but any one of them will tell you their jobs were important.

"I drove a dump truck, hauled gravel, didn't bother me any," said Bill Adamson of Burton, a Seabee in Vietnam 1966-68.

Seabees often had to do their work with the enemy close at hand.

"We'd have red alerts. Actually I'd prefer to work nights, but it got so dangerous. You wouldn't have any lights on," Adamson remembered.

Adamson was a Seabee mechanic.

"Bulldozers, scrapers, big fork lifts," he said.

And he remembers his unit helping a convoy cross a river.

"We put a bridge down, picked it back up and took it with us," he said.

Much of their work is behind the scenes, but that doesn't diminish their contribution. Adamson said he's proud to be a Seabee.

"Oh yeah! I don't think I want to do it again," he said.

The Seabee motto sums it up well: "We build, we fight, can do."

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