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Posted 7/26/2018

Release no. 18-047

Chuck Walker

MOBILE, Alabama – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District Irvington Site Office, operations division, hosted a christening ceremony for its new survey vessel, Sarge, on July 13, 2018, at the Irvington Site Office in Irvington, Ala.

The Sarge was named in honor of former Irvington site employee Mr. Stephen Sema. Sema’s military service began in the U.S. Air Force where he served from August 1950 to September 1973, earning his nickname, “Sarge”. Sema continued his government service at the Irvington site office Mobile District, as a surveyor and dredge inspector/supervisor from November 1973 to December 1993. He finished his military and Federal service with over 42 years followed by another decade working as a contract inspector for the Irvington site office.

Wynne Fuller, Chief of Operations Division, said he was proud to honor Sema.

“While his contributions to our navigation program were great, his job description does not capture the very real contributions he made to the culture at the Irvington Site Office,” Fuller said. “Sarge was unsurpassed as a mentor and as a leader. He was clearly an inspiration to our younger employees. Through his wisdom, dedication and sense of humor he built a real legacy that will outlast this vessel.”

In attendance for the christening were Sema’s wife Doris, his five children and their spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other members of his family. Also in attendance were many friends, USACE Mobile District employees, as well as numerous USACE retirees.

The official christening of the vessel was performed by Doris Sema with water collected from the Mississippi Sound, the primary working location of the Sarge.

Steve Reid, Irvington Site Manager, spoke of Sarge’s pride and adoration of his family.

 “He was a man of faith and a happy man with a wild sense of humor,” Reid said. “He was a family who adored his wife and had a strong sense of pride in his children. Sarge was probably the best man I have ever known. Everyone that was fortunate enough to get to know Sarge was truly blessed.”

The vessel, a 28-foot long by 9 foot by 6 inch survey boat, was built in Irvington by Silver Ships Inc., to expand the site’s surveying capability. The Sarge will be used for operation and maintenance activities in Mobile, Pascagoula and Gulfport Harbors, entrance channels, bays and bayous on the northern Gulf coast.

Fuller stated that no one deserved the opportunity to be honored more than Sarge.

“It’s a rare opportunity to be able to recognize an employee in such a meaningful way,” said Fuller. No one deserves this more than Steve.”