THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY…

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

AM-2-Mat-Laying-Team_lowres

Teams of Seabees operated in shifts to place the AM-2 matting at Chu Lai. 

June 1

1944: 11th NCR inactivated.

1945:  114th NCB inactivated at Attu and reconstituted as CBD 1161. 134th NCB activated in the field at Guam.

1946: 140th NCB inactivated at Manus.

1965:  At Chu Lai, RVN, NMCB 10 constructed a 4,000-foot aluminum plank Short Airfield for Tactical Support (SATS) for Marine Air Group 12. The first eight A-4s landed at the field on the first, with the first air strikes launched hours later in the day.

1966: The 3rd Naval Construction Brigade, which gained renown in the Southwest Pacific area during World War II, was reestablished in Saigon, RVN to exercise operational control over the Naval Construction Regiments and other directly assigned Naval Construction Force units. The Brigade was commanded by Rear Admiral Robert R. Wooding, CEC, USN.

1966: Construction Battalion Unit 201 was commissioned at Davisville, RI and assigned to the 21st NCR. CBU 201 would later serve in repeated deployments to the Amundsen – Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica.

1968: Seabee Teams 0101 and 0102 graduated from Seabee Team Training and were assigned to Officer in Charge, Construction Battalions, Pacific Detachment, RVN, deploying to Cha Phu and Phu Vinh, respectively.

1968: Seabee Teams 0601 and 0602 and 4001 arrived in Davisville, RI from RVN for reassignment to their respective Mobile Construction Battalions.

1969: Seabee Team 7102 deployed to RVN for assignment to Officer in Charge, Construction Battalions, Pacific Detachment for duty at Phan Rang.

2010: CAPT Katherine L. Gregory, CEC, USN promoted to RDML, becoming the first female CEC flag officer.

 

June 2

1942: Advance Base Depot Gulfport and Camp Hollyday, MS established.

June 2-3, 1942: Attu and Kiska, Alaska were occupied by the Japanese after their unsuccessful attack on Dutch Harbor. Approximately 2,000 Japanese composed the Attu garrison and the main installation at Kiska was several times larger and was better developed.

1945: 130th NCB, Okinawa, Operator MM2c John Wiebe and helper Gm2c Harry Lehr were operating their bulldozer in a road near the beach. Suddenly they and their machine dropped out of sight. When workers nearly looked around all was emptiness except for a gaping hole. After recovering from their astonishment they walked over and looked into the chasm. About 15 feet down was the vanished dozer with Wiebe still at the controls, but with a surprised look on his face. Demolition crews blasted a ramp and the “cat” was driven out and back to work by Wiebe, who received only minor lacerations from his experience.

1966: CDR Paul R. Gates, CEC, USN relieved CDR Richard T. Hardy, CEC, USN as commanding officer of NMCB 1.

1967: CDR L.D. Lawson, commanding officer, NMCB 7, assumed operational control of Camp Adenir from CDR E.J. Williams, commanding officer, NMCB 5.

1969: Seabee Team 7103 was assigned to the 21st NCR for 18 weeks of specialized training.

 

June 3

1965: The main body of NMCB 9 departed Port Hueneme, Calif., 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. Mobile NMCB 9 arrived in Da Nang on June 27, 1965.

1965: NMCB 9 main body departed Port Hueneme, CA board the USNS Blatchford for Vietnam. The ship arrived in Da Nang Harbor, on 27 June 1965.

1968: CDR C.J. Mathews, commanding officer, NMCB 58 assumed control of Camp Haskins North from CDR 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.

1968: CDR William E. Burdick, CEC, USN relieved LCDR H.A. Holmes as Commanding Officer, CBMU 301.

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

 

June 5

June 5-9, 1967: Main body of NMCB 58 arrived at Davisville, RI from Da Nang, RVN.

1968: NMCB 74 Advance Party consisting of 3 officers and 85 enlisted personnel arrived at Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN.

2009: CAPT Louis V. Cariello, CEC, USN, relieved CAPT Robert A. McLean III, CEC, USN, as Commander, 22nd NCR at NCBC Gulfport, MS.

 

June 6

1968: 9th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Allen, Norfolk, VA.

1943: Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) training school established at Amphibious Training Base Fort Pierce, FL. Volunteers assembled for the first classes came from the Bomb and Mine Disposal School in Washington, D.C. and from Camp Peary, VA (both Seabees and Civil Engineer Corps 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. BUL3 C.A. Hubbard was killed in action; six men were wounded in action.

1969: EO1 R.R. Anderson, Regimental (21st NCR) Seabee Team Instructor, drowned while participating in training field operations at Buck Hill Scout Reservation, RI.

1969: 21st NCR Detail Yankee (UCT 1) departed Davisville, RI for Santa Maria, Azores Island for underwater construction support of Project AFAR.


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