Seaman Emily Hoefer of the U. S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees.” Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Teddy Quintana
Seaman Emily Hoefer of the U. S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees.” Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Teddy Quintana

By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO, CA – “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. A 2015 Baldwin-Woodville High School graduate and Baldwin, Wisconsin native builds and fights around the world as a member of an amphibious construction battalion center located in San Diego, California.

Seaman Emily Hoefer works as a seaman in the Navy assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion One (ACB 1). ACB 1 provides ship-to-shore transportation of combat cargo, bulk fuel and water, and tactical camp operations supporting Navy and Marine Corps amphibious force operations.

As a seaman, Hoefer is responsible for blasting and painting crafts, receiving and ordering parts for supply department and handling specific affairs on the logistics side for the platoon.

Hoefer has carried lessons learned from her hometown into to her military service.

“Before I joined the Navy, I worked as a waitress with people from different backgrounds,” she said. “This experience helped me work well with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

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. 

Hoefer has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My great-grandfather, grandfather, father and aunt all served in the Army,” she said. “My uncle and other grandfather served in the Navy. Out of all things that I could've done in my early years of adulthood, serving in the Navy was the most beneficial and rewarding and not only did it provide an avenue for many things, but it is a time-honored family tradition.”

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 are taking 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.”

"The Seabees have built a legacy over these past 74 years," said Capt. Scott O. Cloyd, commanding officer of ACB 1. “I am proud of that tradition and of what our Seabees are doing everyday around the globe. I am privileged to serve with them again here at PHIBCB ONE; seeing their talents, teamwork, and dedication, I am proud and confident of their future and the heritage that Seabees continue to build today."

Hoefer’s proudest accomplishment was receiving a command coin from my divisional officer.

“I was recognized for being the best painter and blaster for my command and supporting my fellow Sailors on everyday tasks and missions,” she added.

Serving in the U.S. Navy, has allowed Hoefer to continue learning about the legacy for future Seabees. 

“The Seabees’ mission is disaster relief and humanitarian support throughout the world,” said Hoefer. “I take great pride in knowing that I make a difference.”