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This Week in Seabee History (August 12 – August 18)

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

Seabees of CBMU 301 repair a track in Khe Sahn, RVN, 1968. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

August 12

1942: The 11th NCB was the first battalion to leave the Advance Base Depot, Port Hueneme, California, by ship. The battalion sailed on the SS Japara for Tutuila, Samoa.

1942: The 18th NCB arrived at NCTC Davisville, Rhode Island, for advanced training. It was the first battalion to do so.

1943: 110th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1944: 38th NCR commissioned.

1966: NMCB 133 commissioned, CBC, Gulfport, Mississippi.


August 13

1943: 101st NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia. 115th NCB formed at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1968: Main body of NMCB 58 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island, from Da Nang, RVN.

1968: Seabee Teams 0703 and 0704 arrived at Da Nang, RVN, and proceeded directly to Soc Trang City and Go Cong City, respectively.

1968: Cmdr. J.C. Rickels, CEC, relieved Cmdr. L.D. Lawson, CEC, as commanding officer of NMCB 7.

1968: Cmdr. R.L. Dunlap, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 22, relieved Cmdr. C.J. Mathews, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 58, as commanding officer, Camp Haskins, North Da Nang, RVN.

1968: Capt. A.W. Walton Jr., CEC, relieved Capt. J.M. Hill Jr., CEC, as commander, 32nd NCR.

1968: First two flights of the main body of NMCB 58 departed Camp Haskins North, RVN, for return to CBC, Davisville, Rhode Island.


August 14

1970: Cmdr. H.E. Keppel Jr., Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Lt. Cmdr. H.H. Harrell, CEC, as commanding officer, Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 302, at Naval Support Facility (NSF), Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

2009: A Seabee, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40, said farewell to his counterpart from the Indonesian Marine Corps after the dedication of an engineering civic action program at Pusaka Rakyat primary school as part of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2009. The Seabees and Indonesian Marines worked closely together for nearly a month on the project. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

August 15

1942: 19th Naval Construction Brigade (NCB) established at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1944:  Invasion forces landed on Guam in the Marianas Islands, July 21. The initial objective was to take possession of Apra Harbor, together with the surrounding development area and airfield on Orote Peninsula. Landing forces struck north and south of the harbor. Seabees participated in the assaults: the 25th and 2nd Special NCBs on the beaches north of the harbor, and the 53rd and 13th Special NCBs, and CBMU 515 on the southern beaches. For three weeks, combat and construction continued until finally, on Aug. 10, Japanese resistance ended. Since considerable development had been planned for Guam, the 5th Naval Construction Brigade was established. The brigade assumed control of the construction and development of base facilities for both the Army and Navy. Guam became a great Army air base, as well as the principal naval base in the Western Pacific.

1944: 120th NCB inactivated at Davisville, Rhode Island.

1945: 38th Special NCB inactivated at Advance Base Depot (ABD), Port Hueneme, California.

1951: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7 established at Construction Battalion Center (CBC) Davisville, Rhode Island.

1971: Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 417 established at Naval Air Station (NAS), Whidbey Island, Washington.

2009:  Seabees assigned to the 30th Naval Construction Regiment conducted marksmanship training in Kuwait before deploying to Afghanistan. The regiment was headed to Southern Afghanistan where it commanded the work of more than 3,000 Navy, Army and Air Force military engineers. The regiment, homeported in Port Hueneme, Calif., was deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

August 16

1966: NMCB 4 departed Chu Lai for Continental U.S. (CONUS).

1968: Seabee Team 0809 departed RVN via government aircraft for CONUS.

1969: Lt. Cmdr. H.H. Harrell, CEC, relieved Lt. Cmdr. H.W. Filbry, CEC, as commanding officer,  CBMU 302.

2009: NMCB 24 finished expansion and upgrade of entry control point on Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, with completion marked by ribbon-cutting ceremony. During construction, Alfa Company graded over 341,000 square feet of roadways and parking areas, excavated and hauled almost 2,400 cubic yards of fill dirt, and placed more than 400 barriers stretching approximately 6,000 feet.


August 17

1969: Hurricane Camille wreaked havoc on the residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In her trajectory across the Gulf Coast, she destroyed or damaged 30,000 homes and hundreds of business, civic and religious structures, severed communications, and knocked out water, power and sewer service. At Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, 29 buildings were destroyed and more than 90 percent of the structures were damaged. However, after the eye of the hurricane passed over the Gulf Coast, Seabees implemented a massive mobilization effort to assist the surrounding community in recovery operations. Seabees cleared roads, located bodies, rescued survivors, restored water, gas and electrical power, put out fires, set up mobile dispensaries, and unloaded food, supplies and medicine. On October 31, the Center’s military population was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service before, during and after the devastating hurricane. In addition, there were numerous individual awards to military and civilian personnel at the Center.

1969: Cmdr. T.J. Mitchell, CEC, was relieved of command of NMCB 1 by Cmdr. C.V.W. Popowich, CEC.


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