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This Week in Seabee History (Week of Oct. 2)

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

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CBMU 301 working at Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), 1968. On 6 October 1966, a 113-man advance party of NMCB 58 arrived at Red Beach, Da Nang, RVN. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

October 2

1799: The United States’ first navy yard was established at Washington, D.C.

1952: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 10 activated on Guam.

1967: Seabee Team 0601 arrived in Thu Duc, Republic of Vietnam (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 promoted to rear admiral, becoming the second female CEC flag officer and first female deputy commander of the First Naval Construction Division (1NCD).

October 3

1942: The first decorated Seabee hero was Seaman 2nd Class Lawrence C. “Bucky” Meyer of the 6th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB). While working as a truck driver on Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, 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, Meyer was awarded the Silver Star Medal. 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 became a useful tool in preparing for subsequent construction projects.

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

October 3-21, 1971: NMCB 71 detachment CHAGOS departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for deployment to Diego Garcia (Reindeer Station).

October 4

1942: 29th NCB commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia.

1966: NMCB 71 was recommissioned at Davisville, Rhode Island, and assigned to the 21st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR).

1969: At 2330 (11:30 p.m.), Gunner’s Mate (Guns) 2nd Class P.W. Larremore was killed in action approximately 5 miles southeast of Da Nang in Binh Ky Hamlet, RVN.

October 5

1971: NMCB 71 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for deployment to Antarctica.

October 6

1945: Seabees are ready to build anything, anytime, anywhere. Thus it came as no surprise to Seabees stationed on Attu in the Aleutian Islands in 1945 when they were ordered to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to build a Fleet Weather Central to be operated by the U.S. Navy. Work on preliminary plans began immediately, and within seven days 20 Seabees were aboard ship with supplies and equipment bound for the southern end of Kamchatka Peninsula. The site chosen for the weather station was near the city of Petropavlovsk. It was in rolling, wooded country within view of the active volcano, Keryakchaya. The weather central itself consisted of six standard-size Quonset huts attached to a central wood structure. The arrangement permitted centralization of utilities and complete access to all facilities without the necessity of going outdoors. It included quarters for the nine Navy officers and the 24 enlisted men assigned to operate the station. The project was completed in 18 days, working 10.5 hours per day. The Seabees were assisted by the weather station personnel and Russian Army laborers. In addition to the housing, the Seabees cleared the site and leveled it, erected radio masts, and installed utility and weather equipment. On 6 October 1945, the project was completed and the Seabees returned to Attu.

1945: 52nd NCB inactivated on Guam.

1966: A 113-man advance party of NMCB 58 arrived at Red Beach, Da Nang, RVN.

1968: First Engineer Battalion (1st MARDIV) relieved NMCB 3 at Camp Faulkner.

1969: Seabee Team 4004 was assigned to 21st NCR for 18 weeks of specialized training.

October 7

1970: Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 201 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for assignment to Antarctica.

October 8

1969: Main body of NMCB 7 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for assignment at Chu Lai, RVN.

1969: NMCB 7 main body consisting of 14 officers and 538 enlisted men arrived on board Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN.


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