The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher-Owner
After 5 months of active duty in the United States Navy, Seabee Tucker Anderson has moved from E1 to E3 with honors as a member of the United States Naval Construction Forces (NCF).
["Seabee" comes from initials "CB", which comes from the term "Construction Battalion". Seabees have a history of building bases, bulldozing and paving thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplishing myriad other construction projects in a wide variety of military theaters dating back to World War II.]
Seabee Anderson was promoted to E2 within a couple of weeks to "Constructionman Apprentice".
He finished grade "A School" as an honors graduate on May 10th, was awarded the Military Excellence Award, the Chaplan's Award for Excellence, the "Silver Coin" and was moved to the position of E3 Constructionman.
The ranks of E-1 through E-3 in the Navy include Seaman (white stripes), Airman (green stripes), Fireman (red stripes), and with Tucker and other Seabees (E-1 through E-3 with the designation term "Constructionman) wear sky-blue stripes on their dress and service uniforms.
Anderson is assgned to Gulfport, Mississippi to the NMCB Gulfport base where Navy, Marines, and Army enlistees are being trained in building classes and in steel work classes. (NMCB: navy mobile construction battalions)
Along with training in building and steelwork, the base in Gulfport also houses NMCB-1, NMCB-11, and NMCB-1333 which are mobile battalions who are stationed there but have already been through these A-1 schools.
Anderson said he's amazed with the many things he has already learned. The navy has their own unique language for construction terms, such as a "floor" is a "deck", the ceiling "the overhead", and so forth.
"In Builder School we've poured concrete slabs, built block foundations, put down subfloors, and built a complete house. I've really enjoyed it and I'm learning various things I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do, such as layout rafters from scratch."
Tucker said, "It's a lot more difficult than it looks, but if you have good work ethics, show up on time, do what they tell you to do, it's a breeze and they'll notice the effort."
Anderson returns to Gulfport, Mississippi for 28 days of combat training, 1st Aid Training, Land Navigation, Proper use and Shooting Techniques with a 9mm Pistol, M4 Assault Rifle, and the basics on how to get around.
After the 28 days, he is assigned to Port Hueneme, California to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 (NMCB-11)
Anderson said they will start building humanitarian work projects since they are not in war time.
"The majority of the time in the service is not spent shooting at the enemy or being shot at. It is actually construction projects," Tucker said. (and sometimes tearing them down).
His first deployment will be to Okinawa, Japan, which he is looking forward to but doesn't know the exact date.
His committment to the Navy is for 5 years, contracted to December 9, 2020.
"I consider it a great honor to be able to serve my country," Anderson said. "It is something I have always wanted to do."
Anderson said he was inspired by his grandfather (Wendell Anderson), who served in the U.S. Army.
"I was with him almost every day until I was 5 years old, of which was about the time he died."
Anderson said it was after that time when he found out his grandfather was an Army veteran. Since he was a big role model in Tucker's life, he wanted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps.
Anderson said that another influence was Jake Pittman of Blandinsville who served as a builder in Construction in the Navy and was his mentor until he reached his goal.
Pittman is now out of the Navy and Anderson worked for him in building his home.
Tucker said that his father, David Anderson has been extra supportive as well as his family and community. He is the first of his siblings to serve. He has a brother Tanner at Western Illinois University, twin sisters Jenna and Julie who work at NTN Bowers in Macomb, and recent graduate Mackenzi who will be an Accounting major and softball player at Culver Stockton College in Canton, MO.
Another influence is the very formal presentations of the flag at school graduations and community events and the men and women who have died or risked their lives for this country from La Harpe.
"It is comforting coming home where the community holds up these high standards," Tucker said. "This is the greatest country there is, and it is really comforting and makes you proud to call this home - La Harpe!"
Anderson returned home last week to rural La Harpe for his sister Mackenzi's high school graduation May 22 from Illini West before heading to his base in Gulfport, MI.