By: John Shepler
The devastation in Puerto Rico from two major hurricanes in a row is almost inconceivable. The transformation from a vacation paradise and vibrant island territory to a primitive landscape with no functioning support systems happened literally overnight. People are sick. People are dying. There is no food. No water. No communications, No transportation, No power, No…. nothing. Instantly over 3 million U.S. citizens are trapped on a desert island with precious little left to sustain life. With the island’s infrastructure in ruins, is this situation hopeless? Are we helpless to do anything but look the other way?
Of course not! We’re the United States of America. Puerto Rico is part of the United States, for crying out loud. We’ve faced worse than this with guns to our heads… Literally. We have the world’s most capable military that can and have built working bases on remote islands under hostile fire. And that was 75 years ago! Who did this? Who can still do this? The United States Naval Construction Battalions. That name may not ring a bell, but you’ve heard of them. They are legendary as the “Can Do” Seabees.
What can the Seabees do in Puerto Rico?
They can do pretty much everything that is being said to be impossible. They can build ports for the ships that can’t get into the few places a ship can still dock. They can repair roads and build totally new ones on whatever ground is available. They can build airstrips for incoming cargo planes. They can build power supplies for hospitals and supply them with drums of fuel to keep the lights on in the operating rooms. Structures? Seabees can build any type of building you need… and fast.
The rescue and rebuilding of critical Puerto Rican infrastructure is the perfect mission to honor the diamond anniversary of the Seabees’ founding in the desperate early days of World War II. The island of Puerto Rico resembles a war zone right now. With 7,000 active personnel and almost another 7,000 in reserve, the Seabees are the right group to get on the ground and get things working again.
What can you do to make this happen?
Call, email, tweet or all of these to your Representatives, Senators and the President now. Tell them to suspend the budget squabbling and treat the emergency in Puerto Rico with the urgency it deserves. Get the Seabees, the Army Corps of Engineers, and every other military asset that can make a difference to that island as fast as they can deploy. Worry about Puerto Rico’s finances some other day. American citizens are in danger… and that’s what really matters.