Seabees Volunteer for Memorial Day Display at Asan Beach, Guam

By Electronics Technician 3rd Class Seth Reed / NMCB 11 Public Affairs

ASAN BEACH, Guam – Sailors from U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 and NMCB 5 teamed up to assist the National Park Service in placing 3,055 flags on Asan Beach for the annual Memorial Day display.

Each flag represents a Guamanian civilian or U.S. military member who died during the World War II Japanese occupation of Guam and the battle to liberate the island in 1944.

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Engineering Aid 1st Class William Atwater led groups of Seabee volunteers positioning stakes in a grid to position the the flags. As an Engineering Aid trained in construction surveying, he was uniquely suited for the job. It took the Seabees a week to complete the grid layout. Military and civilian volunteers then spent a day placing 3,055 United States and Guam flags in the pattern laid out by the Seabees to create a display covering Asan Beach.

For Atwater, it was an honor to contribute to the Memorial Day display. “This is a day set aside for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” said Atwater. “If laying out spots for it this week is what I can do to help remember those who fell, that’s small potatoes compared to what others have given.” Atwater enlisted in the Navy when he was just 18, a choice he has never regretted. His father also served in the military, retiring as a Staff Sergeant after 20 years.

Dan Brown, lead Ranger at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park, stated, “I loved seeing how all the hard work came together at the end to commemorate the bravery and sacrifices for everyone who took part in the Pacific theater. Seeing the Military and civilians rallying together to put on this ceremony epitomizes what the park is all about.”

Brown was impressed with the Seabees’ attention to detail in laying out the stakes, as well as the “Can Do” attitude they displayed by continuing work in the pouring rain. “It was no surprise seeing [the Seabees] pay tribute to those who served before them,” he commented.

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For all the Seabees who participated, there was no greater honor than to take the time to make a beautiful memorial for the brave people who lost their lives.

NMCB-11 is a Seabee battalion specializing in contingency construction, disaster response, and humanitarian assistance. The battalion’s homeport is in Gulfport, Miss. NMCB-11 Detachment Guam is forward deployed to Camp Covington, Naval Base Guam, to provide a contingency construction force ready to mount out in support of operations ranging from disaster relief to major combat operations throughout the Pacific.

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