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THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY

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

View from a rhino ferry, operated by the 81st Naval Construction Battalion on D-Day, as it approaches the shoreline at Utah Beach, Normandy, France, June 6, 1944. Rhinos in tow behind LSTs arrived at 3:00 a.m. on D-day off Utah Beach where the sea was heavy and bombing and strafing by German planes added to the severity of operating conditions. The first rhino beached at 2:00 p.m., and before midnight, four had succeeded in unloading their cargo, including landing 175 vehicles on the beach. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

September 28

1945: 39th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated on Saipan.

1967: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 9 main body consisting of 18 officers and 652 Seabees, deployed to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), on seven C-141 aircraft.

1968: NMCB 3 main body convoyed from Camp Faulkner to Camp Haskins South, Da Nang, RVN.

September 29

1943: 136th NCB established at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: 66th NCB inactivated on Okinawa.

September 30

1942: Aviation, Construction, Ordnance, Repair, Navy (ACORN) 1 arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia. During WW II, a Navy ACORN unit, comprised of a naval construction battalion and other components, constructed airfields and maintenance facilities on islands all around the Pacific. ACORNs were well known and sought out for their ability to rapidly construct and operate a landplane and seaplane advance base, or in conjunction with amphibious operations, to quickly repair and operate captured enemy airfields.

1963: Commander Naval Construction Battalions, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CBPAC) Seabee Technical Assistance Team (STAT) Detachment RVN established under commander of LCDR J.A. Wright, CEC, USN, with headquarters in Saigon, RVN.

1965: The last echelon of NMCB 8’s main body arrived at Da Nang, RVN, to establish a new Seabee camp. NMCB 8 was the first battalion to send a construction detail out from the battalion.

1967: NMCB 4 main body moved from Da Nang, RVN to Port Hueneme, California.

1969: NMCB 5 Lt. Cmdr. W.S. Smyth, CEC, USN, acting commanding officer, changed Operation Control (OPCON) from 30th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR), Da Nang, RVN to 31st NCR, Port Hueneme, California.

October 1

1944: ACORN 38 decommissioned and Naval Air Base Saipan commissioned.

1945: ACORN 24 decommissioned. 29th, 30th, 49th NCRs inactivated.

1951: Commander Naval Construction Battalions, U.S. Atlantic Fleet was established. This activity was placed under the command of the Commander of the Service Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet so he could effectively fulfill his responsibility as construction battalion type commander.

1952: 103rd NCB disestablished on Guam, and NMCB 10 commissioned the same day on Guam.

1965: Two Atlantic Fleet Seabee Teams were assigned to Project Demo, a project in support of the Department of State at embassies behind the Iron Curtain.

1967: NMCB 9 relieved NMCB 4 and commenced its third consecutive deployment to the Republic of Vietnam near Da Nang.

1967: Seabee Teams 0601 and 4001 graduated from Seabee Team Training, and were assigned to Officer in Charge (OIC), Construction Battalions, Pacific Detachment, RVN, deploying to Tu Duc and Lei Thieu, respectively.

1970: NMCB 5 Detail Yankee transferred from Camp Haskins North to Camp Haskins South, Da Nang, RVN. Detail Yankee was relieved at Camp Haskins North by elements of the Third Marine Amphibious Force.

1970: Seabee Team 0317 deployed to Yap, Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands via government aircraft.

1985: Command status of UCT’s upgraded to commanding officer.

October 2

1952: NMCB 10 activated on Guam.

1967: Seabee Team 0601 arrived in Thu Duc, RVN.

1967: NMCB 71 advance party of two officers and 19 Seabees departed from Chu Lai for Davisville, Rhode Island on two C-141 aircraft. NMCB 40 advance party arrived at Camp Shields, Okinawa.

1968: Cmdr. J.A. D’Emidio relieved Cmdr. G.W. Schley as commanding officer, NMCB 74.

2010: Capt. Paula C. Brown was promoted to Rear Admiral, becoming the second female Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) flag officer and first female deputy commander of the First Naval Construction Division.

October 3

1942: The first decorated Seabee hero was Seaman Second Class Lawrence C. “Bucky” Meyer of the 6th NCB. While working as a truck driver on Henderson Field, Meyer took cover in a Marine machine gun pit during an enemy strafing attack on the airstrip. Manning the machine gun, he fired at the lead Japanese Zero and shot it down. For his exploit he was awarded the Silver Star. Unfortunately, the medal had to be awarded posthumously, because 13 days later Meyer was killed in action when Japanese dive bombers attacked and destroyed the gasoline barge on which he was working.

1945: 48th NCB inactivated at Guam.

1964: NMCB 7 inaugurated the first fully computerized programming of a Seabee construction project when that battalion’s workload at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was planned and programmed by computer. This method of planning was to become a useful tool in preparing for subsequent construction projects.

1968: NMCB 3 relieved NMCB 62 at Camp Haskins South, RVN.

1971: NMCB 71 detachment CHAGOS departed Davisville, Rhode Island for deployment to Diego Garcia (Reindeer Station).


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