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THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY (Week of Jan. 10)

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

Bougainville 1944

Seabee sign on Bougainville Island, part of the Solomon Islands archipelago, Jan. 2, 1944. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

January 10 

1942: The first man received at Quonset Point, Rhode Island for the newly formed construction force was Shipfitter 1st Class Robert Thomas Adams, USNR, from Newport, Rhode Island. He arrived on January 10, 1942. Adams was not the first man enlisted, but because of the alphabetical sequence of his name, he appears in the original construction battalion books as the first Seabee.

1943: 68th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1946: 37th Special NCB inactivated at Oahu, Hawaii.

1967: Seabee Team 0510 deployed to the Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

January 11

1959: The men of Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) 10 boarded the USNS Daniel Sultan at Guam, Mariana Islands for transfer to their homeport at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC), Port Hueneme, California. MCB 10 was established on Guam in 1952. This establishment was actually a re-designation of the last active World War II Naval Construction Force unit, the 104th Naval Construction Battalion, under its new mission concept as a “mobile” land-based construction battalion. Until its recent disestablishment in July 1976, MCB 10 was the only construction battalion in continuous operation since World War II.

1967: Five Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 8 personnel were wounded in an enemy mining incident approximately 12 miles south of Chu Lai, RVN on a road leading from Route 1 to the 2/7 Marines Echo Company area. The vehicle involved was well sand-bagged and as a result, the personnel injuries were relatively slight. The two men in the cab of the vehicle were air evacuated to the First Medical Battalion.

1968: NMCB 7’s Detail Alpha Nine returned from Khe Sanh, RVN to Camp Adenir after being relieved by NMCB 53 personnel; Seabee Team 0602 arrived in Saigon, RVN. The team moved by convoy to Phuoc Tuy Province, RVN on January 22, 1968.

1971: NMCB 4 main body departed Okinawa for the continental U.S. (CONUS).

2005: NMCB 40 Seabees arrived in Sri Lanka in response to the December 26, 2004 tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia. Other Seabees from NMCB 7, 30th Naval Construction regiment (NCR), and Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 arrived within days to Sri Lanka and Thailand to provide disaster relief and survey port facilities.

January 12

1967: Seabee Team 0807 deployed from Port Hueneme, California to Diem Khanh, RVN.

1968: Steelworker (Fabricator) 3rd Class J.R. Couch, USN, drowned while swimming near Red Beach, Da Nang Bay, RVN. His body was recovered on January 16 by a U.S. Marine Combined Action Platoon near Nam O Point.

1972: Seabee Team 6206 returned to the Construction Battalion Center (CBC), at Gulfport, Mississippi.

January 13

1968: Equipment Operator (Construction Equipment) 3rd Class Daniel E. Houle, and Equipment Operator (Hauling) 3rd Class Rodney L. Taylor, were wounded by shrapnel from a booby-trapped sand bag while working on Route No. 1, RVN.

1972: Seabee Team 4006 returned from Vietnam deployment.

January 14

1943: 2nd Special NCB commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1944: The world premiere of The Fighting Seabees was held simultaneously at seven Seabee camps across the country.

1968: Equipment Operator (Construction Equipment) Constructionman H.G. Hodges was killed, and Equipment Operator 3rd Class J.G. Stotko, was wounded, by an enemy grenade detonation while they were manning a defensive position at the “Project Beaver” helicopter repair facility project at Red Beach, Da Nang, Vietnam. Stotko was flown by medevac to the 1st Marine Medical Battalion where he was listed in good condition. Preliminary investigations indicated that Hodges shielded the force of the blast from Stotko while attempting to hurl the enemy grenade from the bunker. Subsequently, the Silver Star Medal with combat “V” was posthumously awarded to Hodges for his heroic action. These men were part of a 16-man security detail from NMCB 9 charged with manning the perimeter of the project site from December 25, 1967 to January 14, 1968.

1969: Seabee Team 0513 departed for Ben Tre, RVN.

January 15

1943: 4th NCR commissioned.

1944: 21st and 22nd NCRs commissioned.

1972: Seabee Team 7410 deployed.

1960: Men and equipment from the NCBC, Port Hueneme, California, began work on Operation Packdown. In this operation, Seabees turned a 125-acre snow-covered meadow at Squaw Valley, California into a parking lot for the Winter Olympics. Since snowfall in the High Sierras, where Squaw Valley is located, can bury a car overnight, the compaction of the snow in the meadow was no small job. However, the parking lot was completed early in February and could accommodate between 10,000 and 12,000 of the cars that arrived daily between February 18-28 for the Winter Games.

January 16

1943: 3rd Special NCB established at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1968: Main body of NMCB 53 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Da Nang, Vietnam.

 


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