‘I’m in my own little world’
NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI - On March 18, Builder 3rd Class John Skoblicki, of NAF Atsugi’s Public Works department, was named the base’s sailor of the week.
Son of Gloria and John Skoblicki, the two-year Navy veteran graduated from East Rockaway High School located in his hometown of East Rockaway, N.Y.
Skoblicki was honored as the guest host of the base’s weekly show, Captain’s Call, with NAF Atsugi Commanding Officer Capt. Steven Wieman and Command Master Chief Carlton Duncan during an on location filming at NAF Atsugi Public Works.
Skoblicki was working in construction before joining the Navy, and after boot camp he completed training as a builder at Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi.
“I joined because of a lot of reasons,” explained Skoblicki. “The biggest thing I wanted was a stable job.”
A builder is one of seven construction specialty rates that make up the Seabees. Skoblicki said his experience as a builder is different from those whom have been in longer as they have worked on larger scale projects, but that his work at Atsugi primarily consists of carpentry, sanding, painting, staining and small building projects.
“What a [builder] does in the Seabees is rough carpentry, throwing up buildings, and doing concrete pads,” said Skoblicki. “My favorite part of my job is probably that I’m in my own little world back there. I have a lot of independence. I can kind of do what I want to do and I guess that is what motivates me.”
“[Skoblicki] assists tenant base commands with various technical knowledge and hands-on guidance in multiple aspects of carpentry,” explained NAF Atsugi Public Works Officer Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Sherwood. “Customer focused, he heads the base’s ‘Self-Help’ program, helping base personnel improve their spaces.”
Sherwood commented that Skoblicki’s recent self-help projects have included the design and assembly of two computer desks, Tori gates, picture frames, shadowboxes and twelve ornamental Tori gates for the 2013 Seabee Ball.
“[He] is a motivated Seabee who gives his best in all endeavors,” said Sherword. “[He is] perpetually optimistic and energetic, and cheerfully attacks and completes all tasks.”
Skoblicki says that it is not the end product that he enjoys the most but the process of creating the product.
“For me it is relaxing,” he said. “If you know going into it that you are going to mess it up a little bit, and that your end product is probably going be at least a little bit different from what you originally planned one way or another, it is no big deal. Patience is probably the biggest thing, the most important thing when you are doing finish work like that.”
For Skoblicki, wood working has become a surprising hobby and he stays late at work teaching himself how to create different products with the machines and tools.
“Everything is a learning experience, whether you learn the right way or the wrong way,” he said. “You learn what to do or what not to do. Just observe and try to pick up on the right things and try to learn from the wrong things, others mistakes and your own mistakes.”
Skoblicki’s work at NAF Atsugi has also extended pass the borders of the base as he and other Seabees assisted in re-building houses that had been destroyed by the March 2011 tsunami in the Fukushima prefecture, as well as a five week stint in Diego Garcia, an island in the British Indian Ocean Territory.
“The ocean everyday, the weather, fishing, I like being outside so Diego Garcia was awesome,” he said.
Skoblicki hopes that his next duty assignment will see him to a construction battalion in California, or a command in Europe.
“I want to travel,” explained Skoblicki. “I never traveled before the Navy.”