The reflections of Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Loyce “Wes” Ferguson, a Seabee assigned to 3rd Naval Construction Regiment based in Marietta, Ga., and currently in Gulfport, Miss. being mobilized for deployment to Afghanistan in August. We asked him why he chose to become a Seabee and in his words why the Seabees are essential to the Navy.
I was born Loyce Wesley Thomas Ferguson, to proud parents in the heart of northeast, Texas as son and grandson to former Marines. As my parents are older than most, I was reared in a manner much unlike my peers.
Growing up in the piney woods of east Texas was filled with building forts in the woods, pitching hay every summer, working rough lumber & timber, learning the carpentry trade craft, mastering the art of small engine repair and being self sufficient in nearly every other facet available.
After graduating top of my class with honors, I left for Texas A&M the morning after I graduated high school to begin college three days later. I was truly ready to harness all the world had to offer. After graduating with an agriculture business degree, I tried joining the Marine Corps for a second time and because of an ankle condition was not able to enlist. It would not be for another five years until I learned that the Navy accepted those with my condition and I finally came to terms with the fact that serving, a life-long dream, was much more important than the uniform.
Being rurally reared, bearing a strong mechanical and construction aptitude, I could not envision a more appropriate assignment than the Seabees. After carving my first wooden duck, with a saw at the tender age of five, I too soon realized that construction would be a cornerstone of my life. As the projects grew over the years, so did the ambition to serve in similar stride. Since I was young, I vehemently craved belonging to a close-knitted organization of brotherhood, where men and women stood on equal ground in the value that they projected on their respective missions. It’s pulling out the scrapbook with your grandchild on your knee, being able to recount the endless pleasantries and memories of old that you shared with your war buddies. It’s being invited to dinner with most of your comrades in attendance and immediately respecting the air surrounding them; as you have worked double backbreaking shifts, stood long sleep-depriving watches and embraced the agony of war.
You embrace these fundamental elements of camaraderie, because your mission places you in support of some of the greatest fighting elements ever to assemble. Standing entrenched in mud, shoring berms, securing logistical supply routes and engineering crucial interior infrastructure to conquer hearts and minds qualifies the integral, however miniscule, ring of the yokes that Seabees bear. Our mission is defined by the Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors who make it home, because we provided structural stability to fortify defensive positions. It is knowing that your planning and terrain analysis will support a line of communication that will feed a starving family the only meal they have had in days. It lies in knowing that the dust covered tear-laden face of an infant will not go to bed hungry, because you chose to stand your post.
I would recommend that any astute pupil wishing to join the ranks of any Seabee organization have a firm grasp on the ramifications of bearing their emblem; in that it does not come without hard work or persistence. It’s a glorious landscape where integrity is measured in sweat stains and etched in salt on the backs of those bearing weathered hard hats, whose day does not culminate until the job is done.
3rd Naval Construction Regiment leadership describe IS2 Ferguson as the hardest working Sailor assigned to the command with an unparalleled work ethic. They fondly describe the times where they have had to literally stop him from working and his response – “Easy day Ma’am/Sir”.