An all female team of Seabees, the U.S. Navy’s special construction forces trained to handle a hammer as proficiently as a semi-automatic weapon, answered a call to build barracks at a post in the barren rocky mountains of Afghanistan in mid November last year. What the team of eight women didn’t realize at the time was that in doing so they would be making U.S. military history for not one, but two reasons: they are the first all-female construction team to take on a construction job from start to finish in the Seabees’ 70-year history and they did it in record time, a full week ahead of schedule.
Here is how their extraordinary history and record making mission went down:
The Seabees Team: Mission commander – Gafayat Moradeyo, Shelby Lutrey, Kadisha Lee, Carla Diazcastillo, Amber Mann, Kacie Dunlavey, Jessica Vera and Shayla Miles
The Mission: Build four 20-by-30-foot structures for barracks at a post in the mountains of Helmand province, Afghanistan, a Taliban stronghold and the focus of recent combat efforts
The Conditions: Long 12 hour days working with ice coated piles of wood that soaked their work gloves as the ice melted; a diet of rice and beans; showering with freezing water pulled by bucket from a well; freezing nights in tents without plumbing
The Reaction: Russell Stewart, a spokesman with the U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four, told the LA Times, “Unlike most times Seabees show up to a new location, this team was welcomed with rolling eyes and comments on the order of, ‘Really, a group of girls?'”
The Historic Result: The women agreed on site to double the size of their task, adding an operations center and a gym to the barracks already planned. The female builders worked so well together that they finished the job, including installing electricity and utilities, in two weeks. It normally takes about three weeks to complete such a project, Seabees officials told the LA Times.
Now that is what we call team spirit. WAY TO GO LADIES… you showed the world exactly what “a group of girls” can do! We’d love to know where those eye rollers are now? Probably happily blowing off steam in the gym you built them.
Thank you Gafayat, Shelby, Kadisha, Carla, Amber, Kacie, Jessica and Shayla for your service to our country. You are Women We Should Know.