Home / COVER FEATURE / This Week in Seabee History (November 11 – 17)

This Week in Seabee History (November 11 – 17)

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

Steelworker 1st Class Joseph Perrott, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Two Three (NMCB 23), cut steel plating used to enhance tactical vehicle armor, 13 November 2004. Perrott and fellow Seabees worked under threat of hostile fire to armor dozens of vehicles for combat and patrol operations in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

Mid-November

2001:  The call came for NMCB 133 to provide direct support for Operation Enduring Freedom and an Air Det Heavy was stood up as U.S. Marine led coalition force for offensive operations in Afghanistan. Organized under Brigadier General Mattis, the 1st MEB commander out of Pendleton, the Air Det Heavy went in country on 28 November as Task Force 58.5 with the Operations Officer as the Air Det Heavy OIC being a direct report to the commanding general. The Air Det was organized in two elements, the small lead element of 27 Seabees to go to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Rhino to maintain a dry lake airstrip and provide rudimentary contingency construction and the remainder of the Air Det Heavy to follow on into Kandahar to help establish a permanent operating base by providing Rapid Runway Repair (RRR) and contingency construction.

2005: NMCB 3 turned over with NMCB 133 in Fallujah Iraq and redeployed to Kuwait in order to setup mainbody operations in Kuwait to support of Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and Area Support Group, Kuwait. NMCB 3 established the new Main Body deployment site from scratch while integrating over 145 personnel from NMCB 21, and 139 personnel from the Army’s 63rd Construction Support Element. NMCB 3 worked with the Army to develop a master plan for what is now the Seabee main body deployment site. While deployed to Kuwait, NMCB 3 successfully completed over 20,000 man days of tasking, and completed 58 tasked projects in direct support of the CFLCC mission.


November 11

1962: During Typhoon Karen which struck Guam, winds reached 142 miles per hour with gusts of up to 200 miles per hour. The typhoon injured hundreds of people and left nine dead. Damage to U.S. defense facilities reached $200 million. NMCB 5, stationed on Guam at the time of the typhoon, aided in restoring the wrecked island. The shops and much of the equipment of the Seabees had been destroyed, but with what they still had, they worked hard and fast. They erected plywood housing and canvas tents to shelter the homeless, cleared debris from roads and streets, and rebuilt bridges. Seabee electricians raised 1,000 new power line poles and restored light, power, and communications to the island. NMCB 11 arrived in December and a massive reconstruction program was started. By early 1963, Guam’s naval facilities began to look normal again.

1968: An unnamed street in Gulfport, Mississippi was named Engram Drive in honor of Capt. Robert C. Engram, Gulfport Seabee Center commanding officer.

2005: Children living at the Thuri Park Tent Village lived in donated tents in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven Four (NMCB-74), built and installed latrines for displaced families. The United States was participating in a multi-national assistance and support effort led by the Pakistani Government to bring aid to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the region on 8 October 2005. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Naval Seabee Museum)

November 12

1942: 43rd NCB activated at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1942: Camp Peary, Williamsburg, Virginia established.

1945: 111th NCB inactivated on Samar, Philippines.

1967: NMCB 5 advance party arrived at Camp Barnes, RVN.

1969: Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1 was established in the 21st NCR as a unit to conduct training and to perform construction, as required, to support Navy underwater projects.

2010: Captain John DeBerard, commanding officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 18, and Chief Equipment Operator Joseph Zaleski conferred about safety as Seabees assigned to NMCB-18 constructed a Southwest Asian Hut onboard Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. NMCB-18, a reserve component battalion from the Pacific Northwest, was operating in the RC South Region of Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Naval Seabee Museum)

November 13

1970: Cmdr. J.L. Godsey, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), commanding officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3, relieved Cmdr. F.M. Newcomb, CEC, commanding officer of NMCB 62, as camp commander, Camp Haskins South, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

1970: Seabee Team 4004 returned from Xuan Loc, RVN for reassignment to NMCB 40.


November 14

1967: The first increment of NMCB 58’s advance party arrived at Da Nang, RVN. The commanding officer of NMCB 10 moved from Gia Le to the Quang Tri Forward Combat Base, RVN, and established the battalion headquarters there.

1968: Railroad Bridge No. 1, first of three being rebuilt by NMCB 1’s detail Foxtrot around Lap An Bay, RVN, is completed.

1969: NMCB 6 and 58 held decommissioning ceremonies at Davisville, Rhode Island.

1970: Lt. Cmdr. J. Perez relieved Lt. Cmdr. N.G. Ricker as executive officer of NMCB 1.

1983: NMCB 1, then deployed at Rota, Spain sent a survey team to Beirut after being alerted of a potential tasking in support of the U.S. Marines who were part of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon. The tasking consisted of improving the living conditions of the Marines located at the Beirut International Airport. On Thanksgiving Day Detail Bravo Lima, consisting of 1 CEC officer and 38 Seabees departed the battalion main body for Beirut. In January 1984 the tasking was expanded; and on 5 January a second increment, consisting of an additional CEC officer and 39 Seabees was sent to Beirut. The battalion also shipped 61 pieces of equipment to Beirut in support of Detail Bravo Lima. The tasking was completed and the first increment returned on 17 February 1984; the second increment and the 61 pieces of equipment returned on 1 March 1984. This was the first involvement of Seabees under combat conditions since the Vietnam conflict.

2003: Presidential Unit Citation awarded to Seabees deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom under the First Marine Expeditionary Force Engineer Group (I MEG). These included the 30th NCR, NMCB 5, NMCB 74, NMCB 133, NMCB 4, Naval Construction Force Support Unit 2, Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 Air Detachment, the 22nd Naval Construction Regiment (NCR), I MEG Command Element, NMCB 7, NMCB 15 Air Detachment, NMCB 21 Air Detachment, NMCB 25 Air Detachment, and Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 303 Detachment.


November 15

1942: Aviation, Construction, Ordnance, Repair, Navy (ACORN) 1 arrived at Guadalcanal. (In World War II, Navy ACORN units, composed of Seabees and other components such as aircraft maintenance units, etc., were put together to design, construct, operate and maintain forward landplane and seaplane bases and facilities for operations.)

1945: 28th NCR and 40th NCR were inactivated. 112th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated on Okinawa. 142nd NCB inactivated at Manila, Philippines. 34th Special NCB inactivated at Guam.

1967: NMCB 58’s first advance party consisting of three officers and 62 men arrived at Camp Haskins, North, in preparation for NMCB 58’s second deployment in the RVN.

Nov. 15-19, 1971: Main body of NMCB 1 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for deployment to Diego Garcia (Reindeer Station).

2014: Capt. Frederick Mucke, CEC, relieved Capt. Gary Rouse, CEC, as commodore of the 7th NCR during a change of command ceremony aboard Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Mississippi. The regiment ushered in a new era with the change of command and the relocation of its headquarters from Newport, Rhode Island to Gulfport, Mississippi.


November 16

1945: 29th Special NCB inactivated at Guam.

2004: Chief Engineering Aide Ardell Ball, center, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction battalion Four (NMCB-4), studied an aerial photograph of the streets in Fallujah, Iraq, as a Seabee-led damage assessment team prepares to survey the battle-scarred city during Operation Al Fajr (New Dawn). The team also included U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Engineer Group, NMCB-23, and soldiers from the U.S. Army Bravo 445 Civil Affairs team. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

November 17

1969: Because of curtailment of Department of Defense operating funds and completion of major construction tasks in Southeast Asia, seven Naval Mobile Construction Battalions were slated for retirement by the end of the year. The first four battalions disestablished included: NMCB 9 at Port Hueneme, California; NMCB 128 at Gulfport, Mississippi; and NMCB 6 and NMCB 58 at Davisville, Rhode Island. In December 1969, NMCB 8, 11 and 53 were disestablished.

1971: NMCB 40 main body departed Diego Garcia for Davisville, Rhode Island.

2004: Construction Electrician 3rd Class Joe Tank operated a turret mounted M-240B machine gun atop a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) providing security while Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four (NMCB-4) cleared debris from the streets of Fallujah, Iraq. NMCB-4 is homeported in Port Hueneme, California and was deployed in support of Operation Al Fajr (New Dawn). Operation Al Fajr is an offensive operation to eradicate enemy forces within the city of Fallujah in support of continuing security and stabilization operations in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

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