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THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY (Week of Oct. 25)

Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., HistorianU.S. Navy Seabee Museum

Tinian Blue Beach

Seabee equipment coming ashore at Blue Beach, Tinian, Marianas Islands in August 1944.  (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

October 25

1945: 6th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated. 11th Special NCB inactivated at Okinawa.

1963: U.S. Naval Ship Missile Systems Engineering Station officially dedicated at Construction Battalion Center (CBC) Port Hueneme, California.

1967: Main body of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 71 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island from Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

October 26

1966: Capt. Greer A. Busbee, Jr., relieved Capt. Spencer R. Smith as commander, Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Battalions; NMCB 1 main body left Da Nang, RVN for Davisville, Rhode Island by C-141 aircraft via Japan and Alaska.

2012: Rear Adm. Katherine (Kate) L. Gregory assumed duties as commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and chief of Civil Engineers, the first woman in Navy history to hold either position.

October 27

1943: During the invasion of Mono Island in the Treasury group of the Solomon Islands, a party of Seabees from Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) 87 landed within an hour after the assault began. The party, headed by Lt. Charles E. Turnbull, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), U.S. Naval Reserve, also included Machinist Mate 1st Class (Construction Battalion – Equipment Operator) Aurelio Tassone and his 20-ton bulldozer. The assaulted troops were being held down by fierce Japanese gunfire from cannon and machine guns hidden in a strongly built pillbox. After some discussion, it was decided that Tassone would see what his dozer could do to it. Raising his blade for protection, and supported by Turnbull, who was armed with a carbine, Tassone rushed the pillbox. When he reached the obstruction, he exerted down pressure on the blade and tore into the barricade, covering the defenders with logs and tons of earth. None of the enemy troops emerged alive. Both Tassone and Turnbull were awarded the Silver Star Medal for their bravery.

1970: Seabee Team 0319 deployed to Xuan Loc, RVN, via government aircraft.

October 28

1942: 1st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) commissioned; 37th NCB commissioned at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1965: At Marble Mountain, Da Nang East, RVN, Viet Cong bands with mortars and satchel explosives blasted an air facility and a badly-needed advanced base hospital being built by NMCB 9. The assault killed two Seabees and wounded over 90. Eight Quonset huts housing surgical, laboratory, X-ray and other wards lay in shambles. The Seabees paused to honor their dead and then set about rebuilding the hospital. They erected and outfitted the surgical and clinical wards, added living quarters, and opened the 400-bed hospital in less than three months.

October 29

1943: 132nd NCB inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California.

1944: 9th NCR inactivated.

1945: 8th Special NCB inactivated at Port Hueneme, California.

1967: Seabee Team 1010 departed Thailand and arrived at 31st NCR for leave and debriefing.

October 30

1945: 7th NCB inactivated at Okinawa.

1964: NMCB 3 main body aboard USNS Patrick arrived at Guam.

1966: In a ceremony at the Sands Point Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington, Rear Adm Lewis C. Coxe, commander of the Southwest Division of NAVFAC, presented the Perry Award to the commanding officer of Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) 18. This was the first year the Perry Trophy was awarded. The Perry Trophy competition provides a yardstick for measuring the mobilization capability of each Reserve MCB. Military and operational readiness, manning level, overall proficiency, leadership and morale are considered in the selection process.

1966: Personnel of NMCB 7 assembled to pay tribute to one of their own. In a brief ceremony, the battalion camp at Phu Bai, RVN, was dedicated in memory of a lost shipmate, Steelworker (Erector) 3rd Class Stanley Claus Campbell. On August 25, 1966, Campbell gave his life on the defensive perimeter of the camp which now bore his name.

October 31

1941: The Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, Rear Adm Chester W. Nimitz, authorized the Bureau of Yards and Docks to establish a Headquarters Construction Company of 99 men. Resident Officers in Charge of Construction (ROICC) were to utilize the men as engineering aids and administrators, and as inspectors and supervisors to oversee the work of civilian construction contractors at overseas bases. It was not contemplated that the company would do any actual construction work.

1945: 4th NCB inactivated. 50th NCB inactivated on Tinian. 74th NCB inactivated on Okinawa. 41st Special NCB inactivated at Hollandia.

1950: 104th and 105th NCB’s re-designated as Amphibious Construction Battalions (ACB) 1 and 2, respectively.

1966: NMCB 8 advance party arrived at Chu Lai, RVN.

 


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

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