SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- San Diego-area Seabees and Civil Engineer Corps officers celebrated their community March 19 at the annual Seabee Ball here.
The event celebrated the March 5, 1942 birth of the Seabees. Guests reflected on past accomplishments of the Seabee community and honored those currently serving.
"Thank you for serving our nation so proudly and for your many contributions, hard work, and personal and family sacrifices," said guest speaker Rear Adm. Michael Loose, commander, Naval Engineering Command and chief of Civil Engineers. "Those who serve in the Southwest demand the deepest respect and admiration for serving around the world, getting the mission done."
Over the past year, San Diego Seabees have repaired rain-damaged roads at the Navy's Survival, Evasion Resistance and Escape school, completed a $20 million, 12-story Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, deployed for Operation United Assistance in support of tsunami relief efforts and served around the globe supporting the war on terrorism.
"There are over 1,000 Seabees standing watch tonight in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Loose. "I thank them for their great sacrifice and selfless support."
Loose also thanked Seabee families for their unfailing support and love.
The San Diego-area Seabee of the Year award was also presented at the Ball. Utilitiesman 1st Class (SCW) Orlando Valenzuela, from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303, was named the top Seabee for the area.
"The experiences I've had since I first joined have made me what I am today," said Valenzuela. "I've always strived to learn not just my job but to learn all the jobs in the Seabee world, so I can be a complete Seabee and Sailor. It truly is a great honor to have been selected."
The annual Seabee Ball served as a celebration for the 63rd anniversary of the Seabees, the 138th anniversary of the Naval Civil Engineers Corps and the 163rd anniversary of Naval Facilities Engineering Command in San Diego.
For related news, visit the Fleet Public Affairs Center San Diego Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/pacensandiego.