ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Builder 1st Class Mark A. Wells, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, was awarded the Steelworker 2nd Class Robert D. Stethem award during a ceremony, March 5.
The Steelworker 2nd Class Robert D. Stethem Award is a moral-based award given to those upholding the highest of the United States Navy's core values and traditions.
Stethem was killed in 1985 by Hezbollah terrorists who hijacked a TWA flight during his return from an assignment in Greece with Underwater Construction Team 1. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and advanced to master chief constructionman. One recipient is chosen each year for the award, which recognizes outstanding individual moral courage in support of the traditions of the Seabees while in the course of actual operations.
Wells is a native of Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines. Immigrating to the U.S. in November 2003, he made his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia, until joining the Navy in 2005.
Wells received the award for his work while assigned as Detail Timor Leste's operations chief and battalion quality control specialist during a U.S. Pacific Command deployment.
"Unless you have given the ultimate sacrifice, not one individual truly deserves such recognition," said Wells. "I was honored to receive this award on behalf of my team in Timor Leste. My Seabee brothers and sisters poured their hearts out building schools, maternity wards, and bridges supporting the communities in the country. I'm just humbled to have had the opportunity to serve."
According to his award citation, Wells led a team of 11 remotely located Seabees through unfavorable conditions, completing the construction of two cable suspension bridges spanning a cumulative 156 meters and were completed in only 82 days. Additionally, he led 26 personnel to complete four humanitarian and civic assistance projects valued at $305,000 while tackling numerous logistical and environmental challenges.
"Petty Officer Wells has served with professionalism, pride, and humility since his arrival to NMCB 5 in April of 2014," said Lt. Cmdr. William Moiles, operations officer, NMCB 5. "His dedication to the mission, his sailors, and our nation is unwavering. We are grateful and fortunate to have a Seabee of his caliber on our team."
U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 is currently preparing for their field-training exercise in April. The FTX is an exercise to ensure operational readiness in preparation for their fall deployment.
For more news from Naval Construction Group 1, visit www.navy.mil/local/ncg1/