GULFPORT, Miss. — A Tri-State native is now commanding a portion of a high-profile unit within the Navy. 80 years after its creation, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One is at the helm of Henderson’s very own Commander Daniel Schmitt.

Since WWII, sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Construction Force have been building and fighting across the globe. In 1942, members were fittingly nicknamed, “Seabees,” a play on the C and B initials. They are responsible for building military bases and airfields, supporting humanitarian efforts and conducting underwater construction projects.

The military says Schmitt graduated from Henderson County High School in 1997 — and now he’s in Gulfport, Mississippi with his battalion. Commander Schmitt thanks his family and mentors for getting him where he is now.

“I want to thank my parents, Janet and Fred, for all their love and support,” said Schmitt. “Thanks for being great parents. I’d also like to thank one of my basketball coaches, Tom Fisher. Thanks for being tough on me and holding me to the highest standards.”

He also mentions the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Henderson.

“Growing up, I learned the importance of a strong work ethic,” said Schmitt. “I played baseball and basketball through high school. I wasn’t the most talented player, but I enjoyed being part of a high-performing team. The only way for me to earn my spot on the roster was to work hard, do my job and be a good teammate.”

Schmitt can take pride in continuing an 80-year legacy of service in the United States Navy.

“Service and sacrifice on behalf of our nation and getting to work with dedicated professionals is very rewarding,” added Schmitt. “I’ve nearly met the time requirements for retirement from the Navy, but leading people and being part of a team is what motivates me to continue to serve.”