28 Aug '13, 12am

Original Navy Seabee feted as centenarian

RALEIGH, N.C. — The military and North Carolina politicians celebrated the 100th birthday of one of the U.S. Navy’s original Seabees on Tuesday as Jerry Smith was feted at the governor’s mansion with speeches, special flags and other souvenirs. But it was Smith who stole the show. The Durham resident, who enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and became a member of the First Naval Construction Battalion with the famous nickname, said he had never felt so honored in his life. “When you get my age, you only have a few words left,” Smith said to laughter at the close of the ceremony. But he added: “I have been blessed so much in my life, and I’ve had a wonderful life.” Smith, a Kinston native, served in the Navy for more than three years, working in the Pacific theater as he and other Navy tradesmen built airfields and a hospital to help the war effort. After returning from the war, h...

Full article: http://www.navytimes.com/article/20130827/NEWS/308270060

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