Seabees Celebrate 72nd Birthday
The Seabees are a force of highly skilled enlisted personnel, schooled in both construction and defensive combat. At any given time, Seabees are deployed around the world to perform contingency construction, provide humanitarian relief, and to accomplish important construction tasks. The Seabees were formed on March 5, 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. Because there was a need for massive military construction, and civilian labor in war zones was impractical, Rear Adm. Ben Moreell, Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Yards and Docks, established the first construction battalions. This was the beginning of the Seabees, who obtained their name from a transliteration of “CB” for construction battalion. Admiral Moreell also gave them their official motto: “Construimus, Batuimus – We Build, We Fight.” Their symbol became a flying bee with a hammer, a wrench and a machine gun in its hands. The first Seabee enlisted men came primarily from the civilian construction industry, many having helped build the nation’s bridges, highways, skyscrapers and dams. Due to their construction experience, they were usually older than the average sailor. With an emphasis on experience and skill, these craftsmen were quickly trained and shipped to overseas assignments. By the end of the war, 325,000 such men had enlisted in the Seabees.
Watch Rear Adm. Gregory’s Seabee, CEC and NAVFAC Anniversary Message