I am originally from the Philippines. I decided to join the Navy when I was 20 years old. My first chain-of-command, which was Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4, helped me obtain my citizenship, which is something that I have always wanted to do.
I am a U.S. Navy Seabee — not too many people know who we are and what we do. We are known as the Navy’s construction force. Some call us “dirt Sailors” because we don’t usually go on ships. My actual rating, or job, in the Navy is utilitiesman second-class. I deal with heating, ventilation and air conditioning and plumbing. I enjoy my job because I like to work with my hands. I also like the challenges it brings, whether it is troubleshooting or new construction where I am able to see the finished product of what I am working on.
My particular “A” School was in Wichita Falls, Texas, at Sheppard Air Force Base. There for the first module, we learned how to troubleshoot heating, ventilation and air conditioning, learning the fundamentals of how heating, ventilation and air conditioning work. After that, we learned about plumbing. For me it was a really great learning experience, before I became a utilitiesman — I didn’t even know that there were different types of plungers. I actually graduated at the top of my class.
During my second command, Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303, I was able to participate in what Seabees are also known for — noncombatant construction projects that help countries around the world. Spreading humanitarian aid, I was able to visit countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru, where we renovated schools and churches for the host countries.
I am currently stationed at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit 2 in Little Creek, Va., where we support about 1,180 divers and explosive ordnance disposal technicians. The department I’m assigned to is Facilities, where a handful of Seabees maintain the unit’s facilities.
I will probably have an opportunity to be attached with some of the Navy divers and the explosive ordnance disposal technicians when they deploy. Places they deploy include Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever they want to send us. Sometimes, we don’t know what we will be doing until we are actually tasked, but we constantly train for it. We actually learn a little bit of everything. Being a Seabee is an amazing field because if you decide you don’t want to stay in the Military, you can always use the trade that you learn outside in the real world and get paid for it.
I work full-time, and then I go to school full-time after-hours — my command has been really supportive of me going to school. They’ve worked with me to ensure that I have everything that I need to continue my education, not to mention the Navy pays for my tuition for college. My actual goal is to become a nurse, and, hopefully, in a couple of years or so, I will be commissioned as a naval nurse corps officer. I will be doing patient care, either at a Navy hospital or again wherever the Navy decides they need me to be — that could be here in the U.S. or overseas, which I don’t mind at all.
I love the sense of adventure. I love knowing that I don’t have the typical 9-to-5 job. Some days I can be working doing construction; other days I can be out in the field or at the range working on my marksmanship, and one day I can be deployed. I get paid to do something I enjoy.