CAMP KIME, DUBRAVE, Bosnia - (NENS) -- Fourteen Navy Seabees received personal awards from the Army's on scene commander at Camp Kime in Bosnia. COL Gregory Fontenot, Commander of the Ready First Combat Team visited the front line Seabee camp to award Army Commendation and Army Achievement medals to some of the Navy's top performers.
The Seabees are part of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One Thirty Three, Detachment Juliet Echo, operating in the former Yugoslavia. They left their forward deployed base in Rota, Spain, just before Christmas to answer the Army's call for rapid, contingency construction within the zones of separation in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Since Jan. 10, the Navy Seabees have been working to build base camps and provide improved quality of life for the Ready First Combat Team soldiers tasked with enforcing the Dayton Peace Agreement.
The cammie-clad Seabees are some of the only Sailors in Bosnia. "All I knew about the Navy Seabees was what I had seen in old John Wayne movies. I'm glad to tell you that you were good then, but you are even better now," said COL Fontenot as he talked with the Seabees. "You have done a great deal, and I am personally proud to have been associated with you."
The awards were for outstanding meritorious achievement during Operation Joint Endeavor while operating in support of the Ready First Combat Team. In particular, the Seabees were noted for their professional skills and willingness to overcome extreme hardships while successfully completing base camps in the First Brigade area of responsibility.
Four Sailors received Army Commendation medals: BUC Bruce Coskie, BU1 Calvin T. Felix, UT1 John T. Corder, and SW2 Nathaniel Poke.
Army Achievement Medals were presented to HMC William G. Hyneman, SK1 Charles R. Cooper, CE1 Davis A Krchamar, CE2 Oscar Daniels III, CE3 Garrett L. Kruse, EO1 William T. Bryant, EO1 Mark Z. Thomas, CM2 Russell L. Preston III, CMCN James L. Smith and BU2 James N. Chasse.
Moments after the ceremony, BU1 Calvin Felix said, "I didn't really do anything. It was all my guys who do the work. They are the ones who deserve the awards."
While just over a dozen awards were presented, COL Fontenot told the Seabees they had all made a bigger difference than they realized. He applauded the Seabees for their great work as well as they way they go about their work with pride and a sense of teamwork. "You have a genuine concern for the soldiers of the First Brigade, and I will regret you leaving," COL Fontenot said.
With their mission nearing completion, the Seabees will soon return to their deployment site in Rota, Spain, in early March. Later this year, they will return to their homeport of Gulfport, Miss.
Reviewed: 12 August 2009