GULFPORT, Miss. - Since 1942, sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Construction Force have been building and fighting around the world. Constructionman Elijah Gamao, a San Angelo native is one of those sailors.
"I had a lot of encouragement from my family to join,” said Gamao. "I also wanted to do my part to help others around the world. That's why I wanted to be a Seabee."
Eighty years ago, members of Navy Construction Battalions were fittingly nicknamed, “Seabees,” a play on the C and B initials. They are responsible for building military bases and airfields, supporting humanitarian efforts and conducting underwater construction projects.
Gamao graduated from Veribest High School in 2022.
“I'd like to thank my family for always pushing me to be my best and supporting me in all the things I want to do,” said Gamao.
Gamao is continuing a family tradition of military service.
“My step dad was in the Army and my great grandpa served in World War II as a member of the only all-Japanese regiment,” said Gamao.
The values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in San Angelo.
“Growing up, I learned to always be humble in what you do and to work hard,” said Gamao.
Gamao currently serves as a builder with Naval Construction Training Center at the headquarters for naval construction forces in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Serving in the Navy means Gamao is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy defends the seas,” said Gamao. "We're the only branch that protects the oceans to defend against those who could attack our coasts."
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize the importance of accelerating America’s advantage at sea.
“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The U.S. Navy—forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power—deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships, and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”
Gamao has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.
“I'm proud of completing boot camp as an honor graduate,” said Gamao.
Gamao can take pride in continuing an 80-year legacy of service in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy means always helping others in need and getting the job done,” added Gamao.