Home / COVER FEATURE / This Week in Seabee History (June 3 – June 9)

This Week in Seabee History (June 3 – June 9)

Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command and MC1 Gary Granger Jr., Editor

D-day 111th NCB
During the Normandy invasion in World War II, Seabees with the 111th Naval Construction Battalion unload heavy equipment from a Rhino ferry, June 1944. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

June 3

1965: The main body of NMCB 9 departed Port Hueneme, California, aboard the USNS Blatchford for Vietnam. This was the first battalion to depart from the continental limits of the United States for duty in Vietnam. Previously, NMCB 10 had departed from Okinawa and NMCB 3 had departed from Guam. NMCB 9 arrived in Da Nang on 27 June.

1968: Cmdr. C.J. Mathews, commanding officer, NMCB 58, assumed control of Camp Haskins North from Cmdr. R.M. Fluss, commanding officer, NMCB 4. The NMCB 4 flag was transferred to Camp Evans. NMCB 4 personnel moved to Camp Evans between 27 May and 4 June.

1968: Cmdr. William E. Burdick, CEC, relieved Lt. Cmdr. H.A. Holmes as commanding officer, CBMU 301.

1968: NMCB 4 redeployed from Camp Haskins North to Camp Evans, RVN.

 

2005: Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 24 constructed the framework for an eating facility aboard Camp Blue Diamond, Al Anbar Province, Iraq. The Marines assigned to the 2nd Marine Division were conducting counter-insurgency operations with Iraqi Security Forces to isolate and neutralize Anti-Iraqi Forces and create a secure environment. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

2007: Builder 2nd Class Michael Schneider (left) attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7, raked concrete with his Philippines Navy Seabee counterpart, Fireman 1st Class Builder Elmer Ang. They are part of over 50 Seabees from both countries working on an Engineering Civic Action Project (ENCAP) for the students and teachers of Kuampurnah Elementary School in Isabella, Philippines. The concrete work was the beginning of a larger courtyard at the school during the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series. Carat is an annual series of bilateral maritime training exercises between the United States and six Southeast Asia nations designed to build relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

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June 5

1967: Main body of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 58 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island from Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

1968: NMCB 74 advance party, consisting of three officers and 85 enlisted personnel, arrived at Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN.

2009: Capt. Louis Cariello, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Capt. Robert McLean III, CEC, as commander, 22nd Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Mississippi.

 

2005: Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 24 lifted a 80′ wall section for a hospital triage wing under construction in Al Asad, Iraq. NMCB-24 was deployed to central and western Iraq in support on the global war on terrorism. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

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June 6

1942: 9th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) training school established at Amphibious Training Base Fort Pierce, Florida. Volunteers assembled for the first classes came from the Bomb and Mine Disposal School in Washington, D.C. and from Camp Peary, Virginia (both Seabees and CEC officers).

1944: In the initial stage of the Allied invasion of Normandy, Seabees formed the nucleus of naval combat demolition units. Each demolition unit was under the command of a junior officer of the Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Team members placed explosive charges beneath the underwater steel barriers that prevented thousands of ships from reaching shore. As they were placing the charges the teams were under constant fire from the enemy. Whole teams were wiped out when shells hit their explosives. The men ignored the dangers and kept at their work. When the explosive charges were placed, survivors remained on the beach or swam back to the landing ships waiting in the channel. The explosives went off on schedule and huge holes were blown into the German defenses. Ships and landing craft darted for the shore through gaps in the barriers. Thousands of Seabees were soon manhandling their pontoon causeways onto the beach to let the infantry charge ashore.

1967: Khe Sanh came under enemy mortar attack. Builder (Light) 3rd Class C.A. Hubbard was killed in action; six men were wounded in action.

1969: Equipment Operator 1st Class R.R. Anderson, Regimental (21st NCR) Seabee Team instructor, drowned while participating in training field operations at Buck Hill Scout Reservation, Rhode Island.

1969: 21st NCR Detail Yankee of Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Santa Maria, Azores Island for underwater construction in support of NATO-sponsored Project AFAR (Azores Fixed Acoustic Range).

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June 7

2008: Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 and Armed Forces of the Philippines soldiers from the 546th Engineer Construction Battalion carried a wooden form to the construction site to create concrete manholes for the Greenland subdivision septic tank system Calbayog City, Philippines during a Pacific Partnership engineering civic action program. The Pacific Partnership team of regional partners, non-governmental organizations (NGO), military engineers, doctors and healthcare providers was been asked by the government of the Philippines to conduct various medical, dental and civic-action programs in the area. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

2013: Cmdr. Cameron Geertsema, CEC, relieved Cmdr. Pete Maculan, CEC, as commanding officer, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, at Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan.

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June 9

1943: ACORN 1 dissolved. (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.)

 

1943: This photograph shows Seabees with Construction Battalion Detachment 1006 crossing the Mediterranean onboard LST 388 taking part in the Sicilian Invasion. Causeways that aided the troops ashore can be seen as they are strapped alongside the LST. Pontoons and causeways, a new invention at the time which had yet to be tested in wartime efforts, were about to make their debut in the Atlantic Theater. This was the first use of causeways in war and showed there versatility and indispensability in amphibious landings. CBD 1006 also took part in the Normandy Invasion in June 1944. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

1952: In Korea, a detachment from Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 landed behind enemy lines on the island of Yo. There they built an emergency landing airstrip for crippled U.S. Marine aircraft. The planned 2,400 foot runway had been estimated to be a 45-day project. The Seabees finished it in 16 days.

 

1965: Just before midnight on June 9, 1965, an estimated 2,000 Viet Cong launched an attack upon the still unfinished U.S. Special Forces camp at Dong Xoai in the Republic of Vietnam. The men of Seabee Team 1104, who were building the camp, joined with a small detachment of U.S. Army Special Forces and 400 RVN irregular forces to put up a heroic defense. At daybreak on June 10th, human wave attacks of Viet Cong made further resistance impossible, so the surviving defenders were evacuated by helicopter.

District Headquarters Building at Dong Xoai, June 1965. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

Nine members of Seabee Team 1104, 11 members of U.S. Army Special Forces “A” Team 342, and a Vietnamese defense force of approximately 400 men were at Dong Xoai when, just before midnight, elements of the Viet Cong 9th Division, later estimated to be a reinforced regiment of approximately 2,000 men attacked, Two members of the team – CM3 Marvin Shields and SW2 Hoover were killed in action and all surviving members were wounded in action. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

1968: An NMCB 5 patrol, patrolling the area south of Sector II on the Dong Ha Combat Base, RVN, set off an explosive device resulting in the injury of one member of the patrol, Builder (Heavy) 3rd Class T.L. Richart.


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