Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn native serves in Navy Reserve battalion

June 25, 2015 From U.S. Navy
Petty Officer 2nd Class Mohammed Abbagana is serving in Gulfport, Mississippi. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
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A Brooklyn native is serving in the U.S. Navy Reserve as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mohammed Abbagana is part of a group of Americans who serve their country in uniform part-time while also working full-time jobs outside of the military. Created in 1915, the Navy Reserve has played a role in nearly every conflict the U.S. has been involved with during the past decade.

Abbagana’s current assignment is with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27 (NMCB 27), based in Gulfport. Sailors attached to NMCB 27 and other similar units, nicknamed “Seabees,” specialize in building roads, bridges, airfields and other structures for the U.S. military in areas of conflict around the world.

“I enjoy providing customer service to people and I feel like I am an intermediate between sailors and big Navy,” said Abbagana.

Abbagana and the rest of the NMCB 27 crew are part of the Navy’s construction force that has been around for more than 70 years. Seabees have built entire bases and bridges and bulldozed and paved thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips for the U.S. military all over the world, playing a vital role in every major conflict the U.S. has been involved with since World War II.

Abbagana serves as a yeoman and has the responsibility of being an administrator for the battalion. “I am responsible for all the administrative work that allows the unit to accomplish the mission,” he said

As a reservist, Abbagana is continually balancing both the expectations of working as a sailor and as a civilian. Abbagana said that he gained unique skills and experience on both sides and that he’s become a better-rounded person because of it. “I learned about making good decisions and developing my judgment in the reserves that I apply to my civilian job,” he said.

Abbagana’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Greg Schell, a reservist himself, said he is impressed by the professionalism of his sailors. “I am extremely proud to be a part of this team, one of the best I’ve ever had the honor of serving with in my entire career in the United States Navy,” he said. “This Battalion is ready, willing, and able to deploy now to defend freedom and our way of life, anywhere around the world.”

The Reserve is a major component of the Navy representing about 20 percent of its total forces. Congress authorized the establishment of the Federal Naval Reserve on March 3, 1915. Initially, the only Sailors eligible to enroll were enlisted Navy veterans. On Aug. 29, 1916, with the prospect of America’s entry into World War I looming, the Federal Naval Reserve reorganized to allow the enrollment of non-veterans and was designated as the U.S. Naval Reserve Force.

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