A proud native of Davao City is one of the members of the US Navy’s storied Construction Battalions, or “Seabees,” building and fighting around the world from her base in Port Hueneme, California.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Jannah Mae Bustamante was born and raised in Davao and is a graduate of Davao’s Brokenshire College. She traveled to the US following her sister Mariel Jimenez, who lives in Pensacola, Florida, and found that the Navy was a worthwhile place to apply her construction skills.
Bustamante’s job with the Seabees is in general building construction.
“I’m a builder and carpentry is my trade,” Bustamante said in an interview facilitated by the Navy Office of Community Relations.
“We plan and estimate construction projects for the Seabees. We build schools, hospitals and other facilities that help people around the world,” she explained.
The variety of the projects undertaken by the Seabees is part of the appeal of her work, Bustamante said.
“I like to be an original, so it’s a nice fit with the Seabees who do different things from the rest of the Navy,” said Bustamante.
“I also like the deployments where we get to spend six to seven months in a foreign country,” she added.
The Seabees, who are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, serve a dual role in the American armed forces, providing engineering and construction capabilities during combat operations for the Navy and Marines, as well as the other branches of the service. They also support humanitarian efforts, using their construction skills to help communities around the world following earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters.
Bustamante’s commanding officer, Capt. Mike Saum, commodore, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 1, commented, “Seabees deploy around the world providing expert expeditionary construction support on land and under the sea, for the Navy and Marine Corps, in war, humanitarian crisis and peace. Seabee resiliency, skill, and resolution under hostile and rough conditions prove our motto ‘We Build, We Fight.’ The Seabee patch we wear on our uniform signifies to the warfighter and civilian alike that they’re in good hands.”
Bustamante likewise has a keen sense of pride in being a part of the Seabees’ history.
“I’m proud to be a part of the 75th anniversary,” she said. “The Seabees have a really rich history of helping others around the world. It’s an honor to say that I’m a Seabee.”