PITI, Guam – Seabees stationed in Guam celebrated the Seabee Betty Day Ceremony to honor the life of Vicenta Chargualaf Peredo at Guam Veterans Cemetery June 20.
Peredo, also known as ‘Seabee Betty’, passed away 16 years ago but she is still remembered for her hospitality and gracious attitude toward the thousands of Seabees that were stationed on Guam for more than 50 years.
“It has been 16 years since Seabee Betty was memorialized and laid to rest here in our Veterans Cemetery, but her legacy will live on for many generations to come,” said Capt. Dale Turner, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas who is the most senior ranking Seabee stationed in Guam. “She will forever be known for her famous welcome home and farewell parties she hosted in her home for each Seabee stationed on the Island until she passed away in 2003.”
In addition to the fiesta-style parties, Seabee Betty would also help the Seabees to arrange Chamorro style weddings and acted as a surrogate mother to thousands of Seabees who were away from their families and home, many of them for the first time, by sharing a piece of her home and culture with them.
“We are reminded of Seabee Betty’s legacy every time we drive through Camp Covington on Naval Base Guam, because it is located on Seabee Betty Dr.,” said Turner. “She made many of us feel that we were a part of her family and we will always think of her as a member of our greater Seabee community.”
Since Seabee Betty’s passing, her daughter Debbie Peredo and several other family members have carried on Seabee Betty’s legacy by hosting an annual party on Seabee Betty Day where each family member brings at least one dish each for the Seabees to enjoy.
“I think it is important to continue carrying on the traditions my mother put in place not only for the Seabee community, but for the locals of Guam,” said Peredo. “My mother always said she would not stop until she was six feet under and I plan to follow in her footsteps. I know she would be very proud that her beloved Seabees and her family still get together for a fiesta every year. Every year I can feel her smiling down on us, and it makes me smile.”
Throughout her life, Seabee Betty, was recognized for her selfless efforts and kind heart by President Ronald Regan, multiple chiefs of naval operations, U.S. senators, and several other military leaders. She was officially named an honorary Seabee and become one of only two civilians to be inducted into the Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, California.
According to Peredo and Turner, Seabee Betty embodied the Seabee ‘Can Do’ attitude and has forever be remembered by the Seabee community.
After the memorial ceremony, Seabees stationed on Guam gathered for a traditional fiesta-style party hosted by Seabee Betty’s family at Asan Beach.
According to Peredo, seeing her family and her extended Seabee family all gathered together, eating and enjoying one another’s company, fills her with happiness because even though her mother was laid to rest, her mother will never truly be gone as long as her legacy continues on.