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This Week in Seabee History (Week of September 3 – September 9)

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

5 September 2005 – A U.S. Navy equipment operator assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven (NMCB-7), cleared debris at Jones Park in Gulfport, Mississippi. The Seabees were supporting the U.S. Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Sheriff’s Department to get the city of Gulfport and its waterways back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina. The Navy’s involvement in the Hurricane Katrina humanitarian assistance operations was led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in conjunction with the Department of Defense.

September 3

1967: At Dong Ha, RVN, five miles south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), a combined Viet Cong–North Vietnamese Army rocket attack detonated 20,000 tons of ammunition and 40,000 gallons of aviation fuel near NMCB 11’s camp. The explosions rocked the base for eight hours, and this represented the largest ammunition disaster in recorded history. Miraculously, no Americans or South Vietnamese were killed.

September 4

1942: 23rd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia. 24th NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: Camp Lee-Stephenson established at Eastport (Quoddy Village), Maine.

2009: Capt. Allen M. Stratman, CEC, relieved Capt. Jeffrey T. Borowy, CEC, as commander, 25th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR), at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC), Gulfport, Mississippi.

September 5

1943: 126th NCB formed at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1969: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 advance party deployed to Camp Kinser, Okinawa, via government aircraft.

September 6

1945: 52nd NCR commissioned. 97th NCB inactivated at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1968: NMCB 5 presented with the “Best of Type” Battle ‘E’ from Rear Adm. A.C. Husband, CEC, during regimental pass-in-review at Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Port Hueneme, California.

2012: Capt. Darius Banaji, CEC, relieved Capt. Kathryn Donovan, CEC, as commander, 22nd NCR, at NCBC Gulfport, Mississippi.

September 7

1942: NCTC Davisville, Rhode Island, is designated Camp Endicott (concurrent with redesignation of Camp Hollyday at Gulfport, Mississippi and Camp Rousseau, at Port Hueneme, California).

1944: 39th NCR activated.

2011: Capt. Darius Banaji, CEC, relieved Capt. Allan Stratman, CEC, as commander of the 25th NCR at NCBC Gulfport, Mississippi.

September 8

1945: Section II of 106th NCB inactivated at Iwo Jima.

September 9

1943: Before dawn, initial Allied landings took place at Salerno, Italy. For these landings, the 12-mile beach was divided into two parts. The north section was invaded by the 46th British Division that landed from tank landing ships with the aid of the 1006th Seabee Causeway Detachment (CBD 1006). The south section was invaded by the American forces that also landed on causeways laid down by Seabee pontoon crews. The Germans, however, were prepared for battle at Salerno. The landing ships carrying the Seabees and their pontoons took a frightful beating. Many pontoon strings were sent ashore and blown up on the mined beaches. Allied ships guarding the beaches were bombed by German guided missiles, dive bombers and torpedoes, and shelled by German submarines and patrol craft. During the first 10 days of battle, the Seabees bivouacked on the Salerno beaches while they unloaded ships, built unloading-slips and roadways, and cleared traffic – doing it all while under constant fire. CBD 1006 suffered 28% casualties.  Lt. Carl M. Olson, CEC, officer in charge (OIC), CBD 1006, and seven of his men were killed in action during this conflict. The Allies won the battle at Salerno, and Seabee operations were invaluable in the great victory.

1967: The first flight of NMCB 9 advance party arrived at Camp Hoover.


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