We went to Palau and the Philippines the last
deployment [2015-2016]. We got to work with the
Filipino Seabees. Their rates are pretty much like ours.
We built two schools ... in two different villages.
We were liked by the people around us, but there
were people there who didn’t. I think they were still
very thankful for the school, because it does help educate their kids. It was trying to bring us together. They
saw that we were working with the Filipino Seabees,
and it was a good working relationship. We’d play basketball with them on the weekends. The kids, they’d
chill with us at lunch or we’d play games with them,
too. We did a lot of reading with them.
It would be nice to be deployed 24/7 but, at the same
time, it’s nice to be home and be in America. I really got
to help, and that makes me feel good. I have been biting
at the bit to go again. I cannot wait to go. This was the
first Christmas that I’ve been home since I joined.
The ramp-up to FEX [Final Exercise] is always
very stressful, no matter what battalion you’re in. We
started off as soon as boots hit the ground here. We
started the homeport training process, so we went to
crew-served [weapons], a two-week class. Then you go
do live-fire up north [Camp Roberts, Calif.], for a week
learning how to use the weapon. Some people go to the
squad leader’s course, which is a mini-field training
exercise. There’s fire team FEX up there too.
We do our CPXs [Command Post Exercises], build-
ing us up to FEX. We go to Dozier Field here. We set
up all our tents and stuff and get ready for FEX in a
three-to-four-day exercise. That’s where we do our
training for our younger troops. We go out in full kit.
It’s the first time they’ve worn it. We do those once
every month. They get to learn the process of what
FEX is. They get to learn how to man the lines.
It is good training. If we were deployed overseas,
I’d feel much better knowing that I had gone to FEX.
It’s more of a real-life scenario.
I’m a sponsor for new troops coming in. They always
have questions. One of my roles is helping them through
the process and understanding what we do and getting
them deployment-ready. We start from ground zero and
build them up.
Right now, I’m a project crew leader. I have a crew
of 16. Most of them are in class, which is difficult as
they’re not helping plan the project. We start with the
blueprints. We find out all the material needed, how
many people it’s going to take, how many days it’s
going to take. We build the whole package. When we
get over there, it’s going to be that much easier to get
it going. This project will be done in under 60 days.
I don’t know where I’m going for my next com-
mand. I am excited to go on deployment. This battalion,
it’s home. No matter where I go, sooner or later I’m
going to come back to battalion, and it’ll be home
again. I don’t mind the deploying process and the
I originally didn’t want to stay in. Now these deploy-
ments and everything have obviously changed my mind.
I want to teach at NCTC [Naval Construction Training
Center]. I want to teach “C” School, teaching my fellow
steelworkers how to weld.
I wouldn’t mind going overseas, either. I’m in the
Navy, and this is what I want to do. We are builders and
we are fighters. We do a lot of humanitarian stuff. I never
went to Afghanistan or Iraq, so I don’t know that side.
Usually people don’t know what to expect when I
tell them [I’m a Seabee]. I do it to serve. I am single,
the only thing I have is a dog. It’s very hard on people.
They miss their families, but what are you going to do?
You have to have a very strong network with people. I
try to be as open as possible, so they can feel comfort-
able talking to me about anything. I’d like to know if
something is going on in your life.
The support of my family is what really makes me
keep reaching for the stars. They really help drive me for
my goals. They make it easy for my deployments by getting my hometown involved in sending care packages for
military personnel and the families overseas. [While] in
the Philippines, they sent us many boxes of clothes, toys
and school material that greatly impacted the way the
Filipino kids and parents view Seabees and understanding that we are there to help the communities. n
Steelworker 2nd Class Shianne Chlupacek, assigned to Naval Mobile
Construction Battalion 3, shows pictures of her dog to local students
during her lunch break at Abaroan School in Palawan, Philippines,
Jan. 25, 2016.