Jamaican sailor exemplifies “We Build, We Fight” legacy of US Navy Seabees

Jamaican sailor exemplifies “We Build, We Fight” legacy of US Navy Seabees

Navy Office of Community Outreach

Monday, August 26, 2019

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“WE Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the US Navy's Construction Force, known as the Seabees, for more than 75 years. Constructionman Sanjay Clacken, a Jamaican native, builds and fights around the world as a member of the Naval Construction Battalion Centre located in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Clacken is serving as a Navy steelworker, who is responsible for learning how to weld in the Navy using a variety of different processes.

He credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Jamaica.

“Growing up in Jamaica, I learned the importance of determination and to always give a hundred per cent when trying to accomplish goals,” said Clacken.

Building in austere environments can be a challenge. Fighting in harsh conditions can also be a challenge. Building in austere environments while fighting in harsh conditions takes a special kind of person with a great deal of perseverance and determination. These are the kinds of people serving at Gulfport, the home of the Atlantic Fleet Seabees. These are the people who provide crucial support to Seabees units deployed around the world.

The jobs of many of today's Seabees remains 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 US Navy Seabee Museum.

For more than 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. They aid following earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.

Clacken is playing an important part in America's focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation's prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world's oceans.

More than 70 per cent of the Earth's surface is covered by water; 80 per cent of the world's population lives close to a coast; and 90 per cent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities centre on people, capabilities, and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said secretary of the Navy Richard V Spencer.

“Readiness, lethality and modernisation are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Clacken is most proud of graduating in the top five per cent of his class.

“It was very competitive during boot camp, so I'm honoured to have achieved this accomplishment,” he shared.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Clacken, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Clacken is honoured to carry on that family tradition.

“My sister was in the Army,” he said. “She told me about the positive benefits of military life. I could also see the positive transformation the military had on her.”

As a member of one of the US Navy's most relied upon assets, Clacken and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, providing the Navy America needs.

“I belong to the greatest Navy in the world,” added Clacken. “I'm able to help the helpless and subdue evil. I am part of a rich heritage to which I will add.”

This story was originally published on the blog navyoutreach.blogspot.com , and was shared by the Navy Office of Community Outreach, which travels the globe to collect sailors' stories and distribute them to their hometown media.

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