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This Week in Seabee History (Week of October 29 – November 4)

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

Rear Admiral John R. Perry
Rear Admiral John R. Perry, CEC, served as Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and Chief of Civil Engineers in the mid-1950s, after serving as director of the Pacific and Alaskan Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks. The Perry Award is given each year to the most outstanding reserve battalion in the Naval Construction Force for achievement in the areas of leadership, readiness, construction accomplishments, equipment management, logistics programs, retention and safety, and was awarded for the first time on Oct. 30, 1966, to Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion 18. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

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 Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated at Okinawa.

1964: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 main body aboard USNS Patrick arrived at Guam.

1966: In a ceremony at the Sands Point Naval Air Station (NAS), Seattle, Washington, Rear Adm Lewis C. Coxe, commander of the Southwest Division of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (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, Republic of Vietnam (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.

 

November 1

1943: Aviation, Construction, Ordnance, Repair, Navy (ACORN) 15 arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia. ACORNs were advanced base units consisting of combat aircraft service personnel and a Seabee detachment. Their responsibility was the construction, administration, operation, and maintenance of new or existing airfields during World War II.

1945: After World War II, several naval activities were transferred to or established at Port Hueneme, California. The Advance Base Proving Grounds at Davisville, Rhode Island was disestablished and the operations, men, and equipment were transferred to Port Hueneme, later known as the Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory.

1945: 76th NCB inactivated on Guam.

1960: NMCB 8 reactivated.

1965: The first units of 300 Seabee-built homes at the U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain opened to occupancy through a joint effort of NMCBs 4, 7 and 8. Construction commenced on the housing project in July 1964.

1966: Seabee Team 0909 completed training at the 31st NCR and deployed to Thailand via C-130 aircraft. NMCB 3 advance party departed for the continental United States (CONUS).

1967: “Ghost Battalion” disestablished in the RVN. Cmdr. Foley returned and resumed command of NMCB 3.

1967: Seabee Team 0911 completed training at the 31st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) and deployed to Thailand via C-118 aircraft.

1967: Seabee Team 5801 graduated from Seabee Team training, and was assigned to Officer in Charge (OIC), Construction Battalions, Pacific Detachment (CBPAC), RVN, deploying to Chau Doc.

1967: NMCB 40 relieved NMCB 71 at Chu Lai, RVN.

1969: Seabee Team 5301 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island from Vietnam for reassignment to NMCB 53.

1973: CNO declares UCT 1 and UCT 2 independent, under the 21st and 31st NCRs.

2014: NMCB 25 officially concluded battalion operations in Afghanistan with the casing of its colors in a ceremony at New Kabul Compound, Afghanistan. This ended 13 years of Naval Construction Force operations in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

November 2

1942: The offices of Director, Atlantic Division and Director, Pacific Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks were established with the Director given authority to act for the Chief of the Bureau.

 

November 3

1942: 36th NCB arrives at Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia, the first Seabee unit to train at the camp.

1945: 117th NCB inactivated at Saipan.

1968: Seabee Team 0310 moved from Long Xuyen to Bac Lieu, RVN via convoy.

1969: NMCB 1 deployed from Camp Campbell, Phu Bai, RVN to Camp Haskins North, Da Nang, RVN. NMCB 1 relieved of command of Camp Campbell by Headquarters Company, 101st Airborne Division. NMCB 1 assumed command of Camp Haskins North from NMCB 53.

 

November 4

1942: Camp Peary established in Williamsburg, Virginia, named in honor of Rear Admiral Robert E. Peary, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), U.S. Navy.

1944: 6th NCR inactivated.

Naval Station Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines (19 October 1991) – Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 (NMCB) 4 use a front loader, left, and a bulldozer to consolidate piles of volcanic ash during cleanup of the ash that fell on the naval station following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 


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