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RHS grad earns Seabee specialist pin

Oct 18, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

An elite group of sailors has welcomed a former Riverton High School student into its crew.

Seabee Legalman Second Class Charlene Isbell received her qualifications in Seabee Combat Warfare on Aug. 4 in a pinning celebration that recognized her hard work and commitment in her field.

Isbell has served in the Navy for nearly 13 years and has been attached to the Seabees for six years.

"Earning my (Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist pin) has been a huge accomplishment for me," Isbell said in an e-mail. "Aside from earning my SCWS pin, joining the Navy has probably been my most prized personal accomplishment. I have always dreamt of serving my country, and finally, when my children were older, enlisted on Dec. 8, 2000 -- just 12 hours before my 37th birthday. "

The Navy has a cutoff enrollment age of 37. It took Isbell two years to earn her SCWS, and it required studying, written and practical testing, skill set knowledge, field exercises and going before a board. A combat lifesaver certification also was required.

She is currently stationed at the Navy Operational Support Center in Billings, Mont.

Riverton residents and parents of Isbell -- Roy and Shirley McGill -- were in attendance to share the accomplishment with her. They described her as a "sweetheart" who, they said, also motivates her siblings. In the past, they were unable to attend other awarding ceremonies but were happy to be able to catch this one.

"I started my family right after leaving high school, joined the Navy at 36, deployed to the Middle East at 40, started college at 41, and obtained my SCWS pin at 49," Isbell said. "I've always said, 'I'm not doing things the traditional way, but at least I am doing them.'"

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