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This Week in Seabee History (April 29 – May 5)

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

TWiSH (4-30-17)

Seabees attend a memorial service in Fallujah, Iraq, on May 15, 2004, honoring seven Seabees from NMCB 14 who died as a result of hostile fire in the Al Anbar Province on April 30 and May 2. (Photo by PH2 Eric Powell)

April 29

1965: NMCB 10 departed Okinawa via Navy ships (2 LSTs, 1 LSD, and 1 AKA) for Chu Lai, RVN.

1968: Seabee Team 1012 departed CBC Port Hueneme, California with 13 men for Thailand.

1971: NMCB 1 advance party departed Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for Davisville, Rhode Island. Seabee Team 4005 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for reassignment to OIC CBPAC DET, Guam and deployment to Truk, TTPI.

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April 30

1945: 44th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California; 56th NCB inactivated on Guam.

1946: 134th NCB inactivated on Guam.

1968: Lt. Cmdr. W.A. Simmons, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Cmdr. G.H. Brown, CEC, as executive officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 71.

2004: In Anbar Province, Iraq, an improvised explosive device detonated and hit the vehicle carrying Equipment Operator 3rd Class Christopher M. Dickerson of Eastman, Georgia, and Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Jason B. Dwelley of Apopka, Florida. Both men from NMCB 14 became the first Seabees killed in action since the Vietnam War.

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May 1

1942: 3rd NCB commissioned.

1945: 33rd Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) inactivated; 33rd NCB inactivated at Peleliu; 57th NCB inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California.

1946: 32nd Special NCB inactivated at Tsingtao, China.

1966: NMCB 4 at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), began hiring and training of local Vietnamese laborers in the trades of carpenter, riggers, welder, mason, and automotive mechanics.

1970: Seabee Team 0314 returned to the continental U.S. (CONUS) via government aircraft.

1971: Headquarters of the 32nd NCB was moved from Vietnam to Roosevelt Road, Puerto Rico.

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May 2

1944: 31st Special NCB commissioned at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCTC) Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1945: 16th NCB inactivated at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

1968: Cmdr. W.K. Hartell, CEC, took command of the Seabee camp at Quang Tri Combat Base, RVN.

2004: A mortar attack at Camp Ramadi, Al-Ramadi, Al Anbar Province, Iraq killed five members of NMCB 14, one U.S. Army soldier, and wounded 28 other personnel. This represented the deadliest day for the Seabees since the Vietnam War.

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May 3

1951: NMCB 6 activated.

1967: The first flight of NMCB 3’s advance party departed Port Hueneme, California in C-118’s for Phu Bai, RVN.

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May 4

1944: ACORN 20 dissolved, incorporated into Naval Air Base Majuro; ACORN 21 dissolved and absorbed into Naval Air Base, Roi. (Used during World War II, an ACORN was a tailored unit designed to carry out the rapid construction and subsequent operation of a landplane and seaplane advance base. Each ACORN had a construction battalion attached to it, as well as trained personnel to operate the control tower, field lighting, aerological unit, transportation, medical, berthing, and messing facilities. A Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) also accompanied each ACORN to maintain the base after the initial construction was completed and the construction battalion had been withdrawn. During the war, ACORNs were sent to such places at Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, Green Island, Rendova, Treasury Island, and Majuro.)

1967: Seabee Team 1109 arrived on site at Chiang Kham, Changwat Chiang Rai, North Thailand, to relieve Seabee Team 0909.

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May 5

1945: Seabees of the 30th NCR completed the last runway of the four-field B-29 airdrome on Tinian in the Mariana Islands from which B-29 “Superfortresses” airplanes mounted the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in August 1945.

1968: The first increment of NMCB 1’s advance party of 76 personnel deployed via C-141 aircraft from Davisville, Rhode Island to Da Nang, RVN.

1969: Seabee Team 0410 moved from the Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Port Hueneme, California, where they were in training, to Vietnam beginning their eight-month deployment. The team arrived in Saigon on May 5, 1969.

1970: Seabee Team 0414 with Officer in Charge Lt. j.g. K. Vogel departed CBC Port Hueneme, California for Saigon, RVN for training and indoctrination before proceeding to their final deployment site in Cao Lanh, RVN.


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