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    I am Navy Medicine, Joey deCourval, NMRTC Bremerton utility manager and Navy Seabee vet



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    With March 5, 2020 marking the 78th anniversary of the Navy Seabees, Joey deCourval, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton utility manager, reflects on his tenure with the storied Navy construction battalion organization.

    The Eldorado High School 1998 graduate followed his older brother Allan Gold, in joining the Navy in California, serving from 1998 to 2008.

    “My father is a cabinet maker and I grew up on construction sites. I would watch the lineman working all winter and wanted to do that job. My older brother joined the ‘Bees’ as a heavy equipment operator. I learned about the ‘Bees’ and the construction electrician job classification from him. I knew I wanted nothing to do with the fleet, but the combat construction along with the high voltage electrician job classification (meant) I couldn’t wait to graduate high school to enlist,” said deCourval, who left the service as a construction electrician 1st class, with Seabee Combat Warfare qualification.

    deCourval says that his time in the Navy gave him the starting point and experience for his electrical career.

    “Before I got out of the Navy I applied, studied, and passed my electrical exam and received my journeyman electrical license,” noted deCourval.

    The official motto of the Seabees is ‘Construimus, Batuimus,’ Latin for ‘We Build, We Fight.’ They’re also known for their ‘Can Do’ spirit to get any job accomplished. deCourval applied that forward thinking in working at a handful of duty stations across the globe handling such duties as electrical shop crew member, electrical shop supervisor, crew member, crew leader rifle man, fire team leader and squad leader.

    His first command was with public works department as a young electrician at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Crete, Greece. His second command was Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, homeported in Port Hueneme, Calif. His time there included deployments providing such civic action projects as building a school house and two roads in Indonesia, several construction projects supporting Naval Base Guam, and several locales in Europe.

    His most memorable time was during the 2001 deployment to Europe. At Stuttgart, Germany on a base where the famed WWII German General Erwin Rommel based his panzer tanks, he helped construct a building addition for Navy Special Warfare Group 2. At Naval Station Rota Spain, he built a three-story explosion proof concrete and steel reinforced administration building and handled electrical wiring needs for a gunnery range.

    “We found all kinds of relics while doing excavation in Germany. That place was amazing. While we were digging new footings we found some helmets and other stuff,” remembered deCourval.

    His third command was with Naval Support Activity Bahrain public works department.

    “This time I was the electrical shop supervisor in charge of civilians and military. We maintained all electrical (needs) on the base from high voltage substation, generators, to individual building electrical – even adding outlets for officers coffee pots - to replacing industrial motors,” explained deCourval, adding that he also forward deployed to Oman to dismantle and pack out an air base.

    His fourth command was Construction Battalion Unit 418 (CBU 418) out of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which provided direct support to Naval Hospital Bremerton’s fleet hospital. He also helped build parking lot and street lighting for Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton and helped with several office renovations on Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS).

    Approximately halfway through that assignment the Seabees reorganized and transitioned the CBUs to naval reserve units, with active duty personnel transferred to two new Construction Battalion Maintenance Units (CBMU), one on each continental U.S. coast.

    deCourval’s fifth – and final - command was with CBMU303, where he built the gym on NBK Bangor, constructed NBK Bangor Transient Personnel Unit parking lot street lighting, and remodeled the explosive ordnance disposal unit building. He also deployed after Hurricane Katrina to assist in disaster clean-up efforts and built a 12 room school house.

    “Coincidently his brother Scott at the time was in a CBU in Hawaii. We both were transferred into CBMU 303, but different detachments. But when the battalion deployed as part of the disaster recovery response for Hurricane Katrina, we deployed together,” said deCourval.

    deCourval attests his time with the Seabees provided him the necessary mental and professional aptitude – and foundation - to handle most any type of responsibility to the best of his ability.

    “I knew I was part of a small group that has always been called when times are bad because we always deliver. We were always expected to deliver the best. That forced me to learn that I do not have any limits and gave me the building blocks to be the person I am today,” deCourval said.

    That foundation has deCourval providing his expertise at NMRTC Bremerton and contributing to the Navy surgeon general priority on operational readiness and core mission of producing force medical readiness and medical force readiness.

    “I enjoy coming to work, designing, reviewing, overseeing facility related construction projects and solving problems with building systems. As a former active duty patient, I want to give my fellow little brothers and sisters in uniform a facility they feel safe coming to,” said deCourval. “I keep the facility and all its equipment operational to a level that exceeds The Joint Commission accreditation requirements for the last four inspections.

    Before becoming the NMRTC Bremerton utility manager in 2016, deCourval worked for the Base Operation Support Contract (BOSC) contractor from 2011-2016 as the lead craftsman running the maintenance crew. During this time he assisted contractors with the electrical substation upgrade, boiler replacement, as well as repaired, maintained, and learned every system at the medical treatment facility.

    “In 2011 I was working for the BOSC in PSNS and no other electrician had any substation experience. I jumped at the opportunity. For years I was the only electrician here,” related deCourval, who also achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in applied science from Thomas Edison State University in 2018.

    The Seabees spirit, embodied in Joey deCourval, continues the ‘Can Do’ legacy at NMRTC Bremerton.



    Date Taken: 03.05.2020
    Date Posted: 03.05.2020 09:11
    Story ID: 364531
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

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