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Wheeling Native Brian Wood Gets First Navy Command

Photo Provided Pictured attending Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 Change of Command Ceremony in Virginia Beach earlier this month, are from left: Robert T. Wood (father) with Brenda Hunter, Gina Garufi-Wood with Robert N. Wood (brother), T. C. Smith, Brice Wood (son), Leigh Wood (wife), Brendon Wood (son), Lieutenant Commander Brian Wood, and Ellen Smith (mother).

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Lt. Commander Brian Wood is serving his first tour as commanding officer of his battalion.

WHEELING — As the commanding officer of approximately 400 Sailors and Seabees of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 in Virginia Beach, Lt. Commander Brian Wood said the support of mentors, senior enlisted leaders, outstanding seabees, and his family all helped make his success in the U.S Navy possible.

Wood, a Wheeling native and 1992 graduate of Wheeling Park High School, is now serving as a first commanding officer for the first time after years of moving up the ranks.

“It’s a team effort. Nobody succeeds in the Navy on their own,” Wood said.

Woods earned his commission of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 during a formal change of command ceremony earlier this month. Prior to that, Wood served as the division officer for the contingency construction crew/training division.

In addition to the support of those around him along the way, Wood said working through the ranks helped prepare him for his recent commission.

“Starting off as an E-1 enlisted, and then working through the ranks along the way all the way up to Chief Petty Officer, my rank as a top rank enlisted, you just get increasing levels of responsibility,” Wood explained. “It builds your background of knowledge in different areas to prepare you for ultimately taking command,” he added.

Wood was enlisted for 14 years in the Navy until earning a commission as an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps of the Navy in 2008.

He has served in dozens of capacities in different areas of the world, including a fleet support billet steel worker instructor at the Naval Construction Training Center, a hazardous material center leading petty officer (LPO) at Fleet Industrial Supply Center, at Point Mugu, California, an assistant officer in charge at Detachment Pohang, South Korea and deployment-for-training at Cobra Gold in Thailand.

“It is an honor,” he said. “Nobody does this alone. You do it through support of mentors throughout the years that have imparted knowledge upon you and have supported and advocated for you.

“You can’t do it without the support of your family,” Wood added. “You can’t do it without a strong senior enlisted community around you and you can’t do it without troops that want to do good things.”

Wood said It was during his high school years at Wheeling Park that he initially focused on welding and other vocational courses. He said he decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy in the early 1990s because at the time there weren’t a lot of job prospects in the area.

“The steel mills were closed. The mines weren’t hiring at the time. So there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity. So I went to the Navy just to have an opportunity,” Wood explained. “So in 1994, I went ahead and enlisted as a steelworker in the Navy Seabees to be able to use those welding skills.”

The Navy Seabees make up the Naval Construction Force, known as the NCF, which provides continuous construction and maintenance anywhere needed around the world for the Navy and Marines during wartime or contingency operations.

The actual mission statement for Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 is “to construct and maintain expeditionary medical facilities, provide higher headquarters camp support; and provide public works, minor construction, embarkation, and disaster response capabilities, during wartime or contingency operations.” Wood said the main body of the battalion is located in Virginia Beach, with a detachment located in Jacksonville, Florida, and two reserve detachments located in both Virginia and Florida.

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