Home / COVER FEATURE / This Week in Seabee History (Week of December 17 – December 23)

This Week in Seabee History (Week of December 17 – December 23)

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

The first B-29 Superfortress bombers land Dec. 21, 1944, at North Field on Tinian, the massive airbase being constructed by the 29th, 30th and 49th NCRs under the 6th NCB, commanded by Commodore Paul J. Halloran, CEC. Since July, the Seabees worked around the clock to construct North and West Fields on the island into the main B-29 bomber bases for the ensuing air campaigns against the Japanese home islands. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

December 18

1942: 49th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia; 57th NCB commissioned at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

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December 19

1944: 42nd, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th Naval Construction Regiments (NCR) commissioned.

1945: 126th NCB inactivated on Okinawa.

1971: Seabee Team 4005 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island from the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) for reassignment to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1; Seabee Team 4005 returned to NMCB 40 from the Island of Truk, TTPI.

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December 20

1943: 18th and 19th NCRs commissioned. 138th NCB decommissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: 3rd and 51st NCRs inactivated. 5th NCB inactivated. 87th NCB inactivated on Okinawa. 99th NCB inactivated at Samar, Philippines. 115th and 118th NCBs inactivated at Subic Bay, Philippines. 119th NCB inactivated at Manila, Philippines. 5th Special NCB inactivated at Samar, Philippines. 21st and 24th Special NCBs inactivated at Subic Bay, Philippines. 22nd Special NCB inactivated at Los Negros and Manus.

1967: NMCB 3’s advance party of one officer and 24 enlisted men departed Camp Wilkinson for Port Hueneme, California.

1949: NMCB 8 officially disestablished at Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Port Hueneme, California. The disestablishment ceremony was held on 15 December.

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December 21

1944: The first B-29 Superfortress bombers land at North Field on Tinian, the massive airbase being constructed by the 29th, 30th and 49th NCRs under the 6th NCB, commanded by Commodore Paul J. Halloran, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC). Since July, the Seabees worked around the clock to construct North and West Fields on the island into the main B-29 bomber bases for the ensuing air campaigns against the Japanese home islands.

1945: 147th NCB inactivated on Okinawa.

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December 22

1942: 53rd NCB commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia.

Dec. 22-23, 1968: On the evening of the 22nd-23rd, Naval Support Activity Saigon Detachment Qui Nhon was attacked by a small group of Viet Cong. An explosion heavily damaged the barracks where the Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 302 detail was quartered. The explosion was followed by small arms fire from Viet Cong infiltrators on the base. Three CBMU 302 personnel were wounded. Chief Equipment Operator Sears was critically injured, while Construction Electrician (Telephone) 3rd Class Snyder and Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Turnage suffered light to moderate injuries.

1968: NMCB 1’s advance party of two officers and 18 men deployed via one C-141 from Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), to Davisville, Rhode Island.

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December 23

1943: 65th NCB inactivated at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1956: The last of the initial contingent of Seabees was evacuated from the South Pole Station by U.S. Navy aircraft. On Nov. 20, eight Seabees and 11 dogs landed at the geographic South Pole in aircraft of Air Development Squadron 6. There they constructed facilities and impacted snow for an airstrip.

UH-1D’s at Amundsen Camp, Antarctica. These small helos were used to ferry personnel to otherwise inaccessible areas of the Trans-Antarctic mountains, where the geologists conduct studies of the history of the Earth’s last frontier, 23 December 1970. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

1965: Team 1105 departed Pleiku, Pleiku Province, for Detachment Headquarters at Tan Son Nhut, thus ending the Seabee Team Program in support of the U.S. Army Special Forces and Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) Program.

1967: Equipment Operator (Construction) 3rd Class Nicholas G. Walz and Equipment Operator (Construction) 3rd Class Lester L. Williams of NMCB 3 died instantly as a result of a Viet Cong mining incident.

1969: Three Seabees attached to Seabee Team 0103 were wounded in action when their front end load detonated a road mine, 10km northeast of My Tho.


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