Seabees from battalions seven and 133 stood at attention while the country saluted three of their comrades. They listened as the ceremony's announcer read the following statement, "The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Star medal to Captain William C. McKerall, United States Navy."
The Seabee base commander, along with Captain Robyn Eastman and Command Master Chief James Fairbanks received medals for their heroic work in Iraq.
When Captain McKerall spoke on behalf of the three bronze star recipients, he praised other Seabees who put their lives on the line during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"We asked them to endure some incredible hardships along the way. And it reinforced in my mind of what the fabric of our country is made up of," the captain said.
The ceremony also honored three units stationed at the Gulfport Seabee base. The 22nd Naval Construction Regiment, NMCB 7 and NMCB 133 all got a Navy Presidential Unit citation for the way they handled difficult and hazardous conditions in the Iraqi region.
Rear Admiral Charles Kubic represented the president.
"When we crossed the line of departure, we didn't know what came next," he told the troops. "And the tremendous amount of courage it took day after day to keep pushing and supporting and to stay with the Marine Corps as they pushed toward Baghdad was the stuff that earned this award."
The admiral said Iraq was the first time Seabees stood alongside Marines during a fight with an enemy.