Englewood native builds on Seabees 80-year legacy

Self Joseph
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vanessa White, Navy Office of Community Outreach

By Megan Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach

GULFPORT, Miss. – Since 1942, sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Construction Force have been building and fighting around the world. Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Self, an Englewood, Tennessee, native is one of those sailors.

“I joined the Navy to travel, see the world and for the educational benefits,” said Self.

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.

Self, a McMinn Central High School graduate, currently serves with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One at the headquarters for naval construction forces in Gulfport, Mississippi.

“I would like to thank my family because they instilled in me the mentality needed to succeed,” said Self.

According to Self, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Englewood.

“I learned a hard work ethic in my hometown,” said Self. “You need a good work ethic to excel, and this trait helps you teach other people to have a good work ethic as well.”

Serving in the Navy means Self 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 is all around the world and has a presence everywhere,” said Self. “We can be anywhere at any time.”

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.”

Self and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I am most proud of making the rank of petty officer first class,” said Self. “Coming from a small town, I wouldn’t have thought I would have made it this far in my career. I’m so proud that I did.”

As Self and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in continuing an 80-year legacy and serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy makes me proud because only a select few can get in,” added Self. “It also means I am able to provide for my family.”

Categories: Local News, McMinn County