Seabees celebrate 75th anniversary - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Seabees celebrate 75th anniversary

Capt. Paul Odenthal greets 18-year-old Seabee William Hulse at the 75th Seabee Ball. (Photo source: WLOX) Capt. Paul Odenthal greets 18-year-old Seabee William Hulse at the 75th Seabee Ball. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The Seabees are 75 years old, and the Seabee Ball in Biloxi paid tribute to the long-serving institution on Saturday night. 

Probably one of the most popular people at the 75th Seabee Ball wasn’t even a Seabee. World War II Navy Veteran Mary Ann Ritchie. On Monday, she will be 100 years old.

She, of course, is proud of her Navy service. But, it gave her something a little extra.

“I have this invitation to the Seabee Ball," said Ritchie. 

The ball celebrated for all ages. William Hulse is only 18.

“I grew up in a welding family. I did construction all throughout high school," William said. "I wanted to serve my country and put two and two together, and this is where I landed.”

Seabees like him have impressed Capt. Paul Odenthal, commander of Naval Construction Group Two.

“The folks we have coming in, it just seems like they keep getting better and better,” Odenthal said. “Very patriotic, hard-working folks that want to do their best for their country.”

James Manker retired from the Seabees in 1997 after 30 years of service. And he, also, says the institution is in good hands.

“It’s so gratifying to see these guys, knowing they’re professionals and they can go out and do the job and do it extremely well," Manker said. 

The ceremony drew 1,000 military, veterans and civilians, and the guest speaker was Gov. Phil Bryant.

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