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THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY

Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command

Seabees learn how to create a POL (petroleum-oil-lubricant) tank, 1943.

Seabees learn how to create a POL (petroleum-oil-lubricant) tank, 1943  (Photo courtesy of the Seabee Museum)

August 17

1969: Hurricane Camille brought havoc and grief to the residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In her pass across the Gulf Coast she destroyed or damaged 30,000 homes and hundreds of business, civic, and religious structures; severed communications; knocked out water, power and sewer service. At the Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, 29 buildings were destroyed and more than 90 percent of the structures received some damage. However, after the eye of the hurricane passed over the Gulf Coast, Seabees at the Center implemented a massive mobilization effort to assist the surrounding community in recovery operations, clear roads, locate bodies, rescue survivors, restore water, gas and electrical power, put out fires, set up mobile dispensaries, and unload food, supplies, and medicine. On October 31, 1969, the military population of the Center was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service before, during, and after the devastating Hurricane Camille. In addition, there were numerous individual awards to military and civilian personnel at the Center.

1969: CDR T.J. Mitchell was relieved of command of NMCB 1 by CDR C.V.W. Popowich, CEC, USN.

August 19

1943: 102nd NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, RI.

August 20

1942: 20th NCB commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, VA.

1965:  NMCB 8 was transferred from CBC Davisville, Rhode Island to Port Hueneme. The change in home port was part of the augmentation and reorganization of Seabee units for operations in Vietnam.

1965: CAPT William M. Heaman, CEC, USN, was promoted to Rear Admiral.

August 21

1943:  The one hundred thousandth recruit was sent through the Seabee induction mill at Camp Peary, Virginia on August 21, 1943, less than eight months after the first recruit was processed at Peary on the muddy day of December 6, 1942. The recruit who had the figure 100,000 written in mercurochrome across his chest at medical inspection was CM3c Emil J. Mascotti of Bessemer, Michigan.

1969: Seabee Team 0513 completed its deployment to Ben Tre, RVN. All enlisted personnel returned to Port Hueneme, CA. LTJG T.N. Withrow, team OIC, reported to Camp Hoover, RVN.

August 22

1951:  NMCB 7 commissioned at CBC Davisville, Rhode Island.

1954:  On May 7, 1954, the French Colonial Forces were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in French Indo-China. In accordance with the following Geneva Convention of July 21, 1954, Indo-China became a number of sovereign states: Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In turn, Vietnam was divided into two roughly at the 17th parallel, thus creating North and South Vietnam. The truce agreement provided that the people of the two Vietnams should be permitted to reside in the country of their choice, and the United States was asked to provide transportation for the anticipated mass migration from Communist North Vietnam to free South Vietnam. The United States navy was given the task of providing transportation for the migrants and Seabees of Amphibious Construction Battalion One were assigned the task of installing and operating pontoon bridges where necessary and building campsites for the refugees. However, when the amphibious Seabees arrived in Haiphong on August 22, 1954, it was discovered that the truce agreement prohibited the landing of foreign military units in Vietnam. Thus, the Seabees were stopped from operating until all military insignia were removed from their uniforms and equipment and some of them donned nondescript clothing. Then they returned to their tasks. The Seabees not only contributed to the movement of several hundred thousand Vietnamese and their possessions, but the camps they built contributed to the comfort of the refugees. While assisting the Vietnamese in their mass migration, the Seabees also helped the French troops evacuate the country and in the south built a recreation center for the personnel of the United States Seventh fleet engaged in the operation. For their efforts, the men of ACB 1 who participated in Operations “Passage to Freedom” were commended by the Task Force Commander.

1967:  The NMCB 4 advance party with LT R.B. Thatcher in charge departed Camp Hoover for continental U.S.

August 23

1943:  87th NCB becomes part of ACORN 12.

 

 


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This Week in Seabee History (April 22 – April 28)

Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command

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