THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY…

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

Tinian WWII

NCB 6 in Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands, 1944. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

21 June 1968 – NMCB 58 deployed from Hoi An to Da Nang and established battalion command at Camp Haskins, North, RVN.

21 June 1969 – NMCB 58’s Detail Quebec at Cam Lo crusher site credited with at least one enemy killed when they discovered a body during sweep of the area prior to starting work. The enemy soldier had apparently been setting a booby trap when he detonated another booby trap set by the Seabees the evening before. Local Vietnamese said other Viet Cong had been killed but were carried off during the night.

22 June 1944 – 22nd NCB inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, CA.

22 June 1945 – The 69th NCB was the first full Seabee battalion to move by air from one location to another. It was flown in echelons from Bremen, Germany, to London, England, a distance of about 600 miles.

22 June – 3 July 1968 – NMCB 3’s Advance Party departed CBC, Port Hueneme, CA in three flights on C-130 aircraft from NAS, Point Mugu, CA to RVN.

22 June 1970 – Seabee Team 0707 arrived at Davisville, RI from Vietnam for reassignment to NMCB-7.

22 June 2009 – CDR Stephen Revelas, CEC, USN relieved by CDR Michael Monreal, CEC, USN as Commander, NMCB 11 at ceremony held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

23 June 1942 – The 7th NCB arrived at the Naval Advance Base Depot Receiving Barracks at Port Hueneme, California. This was the first Seabee battalion to occupy and stage through the Port Hueneme Depot. While at the receiving barracks, it underwent advanced military and construction training, and was outfitted for overseas duty.

23 June 1944 – 1st NCB inactivated.

23 June 1945 – 47th NCB inactivated at Noumea, New Calcedonia.

23 June 1969 – Seabee Team 0603 returned to Davisville, RI.

23 June 1970 – NMCB 7 turned Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN over to the U.S. Army unit thus closing the oldest Seabee camp in Vietnam. CDR P. Oliver, Jr., CEC, Commanding Officer of NMCB 7 and the last of the battalion main body departed Vietnam and arrived at Davisville, RI on this date.

23 June 1971 – In a ceremony at the 21st NCR, LCDR D.L. McCorvey, CEC, USN, relieved CDR P. Oliver, Jr. as Commanding Officer of NMCB 71. CDR Oliver then relieved CDR C.V.W. Popowich as Commanding Officer of NMCB 1. His was the first time in NCF history that a double battalion change of command ceremony was conducted.

23 June 2005 – An improvised explosive device killed Navy Culinary Specialist 1st Class Regina Renee Clark of Centralia, WA of NMCB 18 when detonated near her convoy vehicle in Fallujah, Iraq. Clark became the first female Seabee ever killed in action, and arguably the first female enlisted woman in the Navy ever killed in action. Two other women were killed in the vehicle with Clark from the explosion.

24 June 1942 – 6th NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, VA.

24 June 1943 – 99th NCB activated at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, VA.

24 June 1969 – Seabee Team 0603 arrived in Davisville, RI from Vietnam for reassignment to NMCB-6.

25 June 1944 – ACORN 18 dissolved.

25 June 1969 – Seabee Team 13304 landed at Moen Island in the Truk District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. This was the first Seabee Team to be employed in the Trust Territory. While on Moen, Seabee Team 13304 improved roads and water storage facilities. Members of the team also supervised the construction of two dispensaries on Tol Island and provided medical services to the residents of other islands in the Trust Territory.

25 June 2009 – CDR Chris Kurgan, CEC, USN, relieved CDR Paul Odenthal, CEC, USN as commander, NMCB 133 at ceremony at NCBC Gulfport, MS.

26 June 1945 – ACORN 55 commissioned at AATD Port Hueneme, CA.

26 June 1963 – A 280-foot hill at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (GTMO), Cuba was dedicated and named Denich Hill in honor of George J. Denich, Jr., a 21-year old Seabee who was fatally injured in an accident while constructing fortified defensive positions on the hill, April 10, 1963. Denich, an Equipment Operator (Construction Equipment) 3rd Class in the U.S. Naval Reserve, served at GTMO with Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) 7 during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. He died in an accident while operating a mobile crane on the hill which now bears his name. During the dedication ceremony, his father, George J. Denich, Sr., unveiled a memorial plaque, which reads: “Denich Hill . . . Dedicated to the memory of George J. Denich, Jr., who gave his life in the service of his country on 10 April 1963 while engaged in the construction of fortifications to protect his fellow Americans.”

26 June 1967 – Seabee Team 0809 departed for Port Hueneme, CA for training and eventual deployment to Vietnam.

26 June 1968 – NMCB 71 relieved NMCB 40 at Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN.

27 June 1942 – The Naval Construction Training Center, Camp Endicott, was established at Davisville, Rhode Island. It was named in honor of Rear Admiral Mordecai T. Endicott, the first Civil Engineer Corps officers to be appointed Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks. It was necessary to transfer personnel from the Naval Construction Training Center at Norfolk, Virginia, to operate the station. Therefore, it was 12 August 1942 before the first battalion started training at the camp. The capacity of the camp provided for ten battalions in training, totaling approximately 350 officers and 15,000 men. This capacity was reached early in November 1942. Both primary and advanced training were given at Camp Endicott.

27 June 1958 – Two members of NMCB 1, Albert H. Matthews, TN, and Robert A. Wurst, BU2, were returning to the Guantanamo Naval Station from Guantanamo City, Cuba, when the sharp report of a gun brought to a halt the civilian bus on which they were riding. Stopped by a jeep full of Fidel Castro’s rebel soldiers, the bus driver, with his passengers, was ordered to head up into the hills. When the bus could no longer make the steep mountain grades, its occupants were ordered to abandon it and proceed on foot. After walking most of the night they reached a small encampment. There they were given fruit and coffee. They were then loaded aboard a truck and carried deeper into the hills to another camp. Here the prisoners were not harmed, although living conditions were far from comfortable. The release of the prisoners was subsequently obtained through negotiations with the rebels. Following their release the prisoners, including the two Seabees, were picked up by a Navy helicopter and flown out of the hills.

27 June 1965 – NMCB 9 on the USNS Blatchford, arrived Da Nang Harbor. The battalion departed Port Hueneme on 3 June 1965.

27-29 June 1968 – Seabee Teams 0101 and 0102, 2 officers and 24 men, deployed via one C-130 aircraft from Davisville, RI to Saigon, RVN.

27 June 1969 – NMCB 1 advance party arrived in Camp Campbell, Phu Bai, RVN.

27 June 1970 – Seabee Teams 7104 and 7105 departed Davisville, RI for reassignment to OIC CBPACDET, RVN and deployment to Soc Trang and Go Cong, RVN, respectively.

27 June 2008 – CDR Stanley W. Wiles, CEC, USN assumed command of CDR Dean A. Tufts as Commander, NMCB 1, NCBC, Gulfport, MS.

SW2 Stethem prepares to dive

SW2 Robert Stethem preparing for a dive while part of UCT 1. Robert Stethem was killed by Hezbollah militants during the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.  The USS Stethem (DDG-63) is named in his honor. On August 24, 2010 onboard USS Stethem in Yokosuka, Japan, Stethem was posthumously made an honorary Constructionman Master Chief Petty Officer by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. (Photo by UCT 1, early 1980s.)


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