Seabee’s Last Wish

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Article written by: Brian Lamar – Public Affairs
Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Mississippi (NCBC) 

Shared from Seabee Courier (Vol. 2 No. 23)

One of the most worry-inducing feelings for many is the thought of not being missed or remembered when we pass away.

Many spend their lifetime working to build a lasting legacy, whether that be a healthy and productive family, a long and profitable career or some work of art or piece of literature that spans generations.

In the case of retired EOCS Hubert Dale “Sam” Bass, a lifetime of service before self to his community and country and a loving and adoring family will be his legacy.

Bass passed away at 88 years old on July 13, and according to his family loved God, his family, and his country. His last request was to have as many Seabees  as possible wish him farewell.

Bass lived a full life. He was born June 23, 1931 in Goldsboro, NC and spent his youth on his family’s dairy farm alongside his five siblings. According to his family, it was there that he developed the earnest and determined work ethic that would carry him through his life. At 21 years old, Sam Bass met his wife, Peggy and a few years later, got married and started a family of six daughters.

In the early 50’s, the Korean War was raging and Bass’s draft number was pulled April 20, 1953, which would take him and his company to fight on the Korean  Peninsula.

“He was so proud of his military service and even prouder to be a Seabee,” said his daughter, Dale Bass, who was named after Sam Bass.

After his tour fighting in Korea, Bass was motivated to serve in something bigger than himself. His inspiration came in the form of a Hollywood classic film starring
John Wayne, “The Fighting Seabees”.

“There was no holding Bass back. His destiny was to join the Seabees,” said Dale Bass.

Sam Bass traveled the world as a Seabee. As a heavy equipment operator in the Navy, Bass found himself deployed to all corners of the world building roads and bridges in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

In 1969, Sam did a tour in Vietnam. There, he formed bonds with men whose names he would never forget and whose stories he would go on to share regularly with his grandchildren decades later, according to his daughter Dale Bass.

Sam Bass went on to serve an additional ten years after Vietnam until his retirement in 1979. According to his family, Sam Bass frequently explained that the capstone accomplishment of his military career was serving on the presidential detail at Camp David under President Lyndon B. Johnson, where he was awarded a presidential service award.

Ask any of Sam’s children or grandchildren what motto he lived his life by, and they will give you one resounding answer, the Seabee saying: CAN DO. When other people think of Sam, they often describe him with the words “mentor” and “hero.”

A graveside service with full military honors rendered by the United States Navy will be held on Friday, July 19th, at 2:30 pm at the Biloxi National Cemetery.  Uniform of the Day is welcomed.

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