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GULFPORT, Ms. – Petty Officer 2nd Class D’Marvia Wilks, a 2013 Carroll High School graduate and native of Monroe, builds and fights around the world as a member of naval construction battalion center located in Gulfport, Mississippi. 

Wilks is serving as a Navy culinary specialist, who is responsible for providing nutritional meals for military members. 

Wilks credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Monroe. 

“The choices you make today will affect your life tomorrow,” said Wilks. “Do your best in everything you do.” 

Building in austere environments can be a challenge. Fighting in harsh conditions can also be a challenge. Building in austere environments while fighting in harsh conditions takes a special kind of person with a great deal of perseverance and determination. These are the kinds of people serving here at Gulfport, the home of the Atlantic Fleet Seabees. These are the people who provide crucial support to Seabee units deployed around the world. 

“We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the U. S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees,” for more than 75 years.

The jobs of many of today’s Seabees remained unchanged since World War II, when the Seabees paved the 10,000-mile road to victory for the allies in the Pacific and in Europe, according to Lara Godbille, director of the U. S. Navy Seabee Museum. 

For more than 75 years Seabees have served in all American conflicts. They have also supported humanitarian efforts using their construction skills to help communities around the world. They aid following earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. 

Wilks is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy. 

A key element of the Navy the Nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans.

More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea. 

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.” 

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Wilks is most proud of earning his Surface and Aviation Warfare qualifications. 

“I learned from the training I received, passed a written test and interviewed before two qualification boards,” said Wilks. 

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Wilks, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Wilks is honored to carry on that family tradition. 

“My cousin is a retired Navy chief,” said Wilks. “She told me about the places she visited and her experiences in the Navy. She definitely influenced me to join the Navy.” 

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Wilks and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs. 

“It’s rewarding visiting different countries and making friends for life,” added Wilks.

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