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Focus on Service

Focus on Service: Shipman

Equipment Operator 1st Class James Shipman

James Shipman was in technical school and working at a mechanic for a Sears Auto shop when he realized the following: he's tired of working on other people's stuff.



As a mechanic, a plumber, a builder, a jack of all trades really, Shipman knew he had a calling, and Sears wasn't it.

"I noticed the guys working [with heavy equipment] on a parking lot and I said 'that's what I wanted to do,'" Shipman said.

Later, Shipman saw a way to work with heavy equipment and follow in the footsteps of his military family.

He joined the Seabees.

"I joined the Navy because when I look back to my family, all my grandfathers, my great grandfathers, all had a little bit of time in the service," Shipman said. "We got that tradition going. I've enjoyed it. It brought me to 16 years, so we're just keeping it going."

Now Shipman is in charge of training future Seabees on how to operate heavy equipment at CSFE, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Students who graduate from the Equipment Operator A-School will leave Fort Leonard Wood with an EO rating in the Seabee community. EOs operate heavy transportation and construction equipment including, trucks, bulldozers, backhoes, graders, forklifts, cranes and asphalt equipment.

We teach them how to be professional all the time," Shipman said.


Shipman said he tries to reinforce the same values the students have learned from boot camp and the values the students have learned growing up such as discipline and treating others the same way they want to be treated.

Shipman said he loves being a Seabee.

"One of the greatest things about the Seabees is you might have a rate, but you are doing a lot of cross rate training," Shipman said.

Shipman said that on one deployment in South Korea his crew built a 400-man shower unit.

"No matter what the job entails, everybody is willing to jump in and do their extra part to make sure the job is getting done whether it's part of their rate of not," Shipman said. "We're always willing to help each other out. No one is left behind. It's just a great community to be part of."

"I don't regret anytime being in the military, being part of the Seabees," Shipman said. "I've enjoyed my career the entire time. I don't want to change anything about it."

For another Seabee-related story click the link below:
Link to Building Seabees story

Link to Building Seabees story