Sea Bee built shelters, accomodations for the Marines

Maurico Julian Cuellar, Alice Echo-News Journal

The rain held off just long enough on Saturday to allow the community of Alice to honor E3 (BUN) Jeremy Wayne Edwards with a Walk of Honor ceremony at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice.

Edwards served in the United States Navy in the Sea Bees, attached to a Marine Corps Unit, constructing bases all over Baghdad.

This was Edwards' third deployment to war. He previously served off of Afghanistan on the USS Kitty Hawk and also during the Iraq invasion. This was his first tour of duty on land.

Edwards has served in Iraq since April 2007.

His father, Dr. Martin L. Edwards, is the Health Science Technology teacher at Alice High School.

The Walk of Honor is dedicated to the brave men and women of Alice and the surrounding area who are on active duty with armed services overseas.

Along with an American flag, which was flown at the Walk of Honor site, Edwards received a certificate from the Texas House of Representatives and the key to the City of Alice from Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez. The United Veterans Burial Association was also on hand to conduct the flag ceremony and perform a 21-gun salute.

Edwards said it felt "awesome" coming home.

What he looked forward to most about coming home was the cooler temperatures.

As a Sea Bee in the northern Baghdad region, Edwards often worked in locations where shelter had yet to be built, in advance of other ground troops.

He spent many days living in the deserts of Iraq, sleeping on open-air cots, exposed to the extreme heat.

"His mom and I took this a lot worse than he did," Dr. Edwards said. "He never, in an email or phone call, complained one time. They were building combat operations posts, so when they got there, there was nothing. They were living in the desert, sleeping on open air cots, with no protection, and he never complained."

Edwards said he was most proud of the opportunity he had to make the lives of many of the Marines a whole lot easier.

"We gave them shelter, a nice gym facility and several other projects. Most of them involved supporting the Marines, making their living conditions a little better. That's what Sea Bees do," Edwards said.