THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY

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

Seabees laying concrete for hardstands at a base in England, Feb. 1945. (Photo courtesy of the Seabee Museum)

August 23

1943: 87th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) becomes part of ACORN (Aviation, Construction, Ordnance, Repair, Navy) 12.  During World War II, ACORN units were made up of a Seabee battalion and other units to build forward bases and provide facilities maintenance on them.

August 24

2010: In a posthumous frocking ceremony, Steelworker 2nd Class (DV) Robert D. Stethem was promoted to the honorary rank of Master Chief Petty Officer aboard the USS Stethem (DDG 63) in Yokosuka, Japan.

August 25

2009: Groundbreaking ceremonies are held at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif. for construction of the new U.S. Navy Seabee Museum to replace the older facility that opened in 1956.

August 26

1943: 105th NCB formed at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Va.

1944: 302nd NCB formed at Maui, Hawaii.

1967: Capt. J.M. Hill relieved Cmdr R.L. Foley as commander, 32nd Naval Construction Regiment (NCR).

1968: Seabee William B. Darrah of the State Department Naval Support Unit was highly commended for his heroic efforts in extinguishing what could have been a major fire at the United States Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia, August 26, 1968. Because of a curfew, the local fire department was unavailable. The members of the embassy staff, United States news correspondents, and private American citizens who were present were formed into a bucket brigade and managed to control and extinguish the fire. The United States Ambassador said, “By general agreement, the person who merits the highest praise is Seabee William B. Darrah, who knew his job thoroughly and showed great personal courage.”

August 27

1965: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 8 transferred to Commander, Naval Construction Battalions, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMCBPAC) from Commander, Naval Construction Battalions Atlantic (COMCBLANT).

1970: Seabee Teams 0106 and 0107 departed Davisville, R.I. for reassignment to Officer in Charge CBPAC Detachment, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) and deployment to Ham Tan and Tan An, respectively.

1971: Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1 returned from U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, Colts Neck, N.J.

August 28

1942: 21st NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Va.

1943: 117th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Va.

1967: At approximately 0600, the RVN Dong Ha Combat Base was subjected to an enemy rocket attack. Three of the rockets landed in the Seabee cantonment, Camp Barnes. One of the rockets made a direct hit on a C Company berthing hut. As a result of this direct hit, four men were killed: Builder (Concrete) 2nd Class Jerry L. Newman, Builder (Concrete) Constructionman Jerome D. Patterson, Builder (Concrete) Constructionman Anthony K. Grasso, and Builder (Heavy) Construction Apprentice Richard J. Wager. Between August 28 and September 25, 1967, the Seabee camp at the Dong Ha Combat Base came under enemy artillery and rocket attack 47 times on 13 different days. All attacks came between 0400 and 2000, with the majority of them coming during daylight hours. As a result of these daytime attacks, construction work was greatly hampered, and sometimes came to a standstill while the Seabees sought cover.

1967: One man from NMCB 1 killed by enemy sniper fire on Route 1.

August 29

1968: The second increment of the advance party, consisting of 3 officers and 25 enlisted personnel, departed Camp Haskins, RVN for return to CBC, Davisville, R.I.

1969: Seabee Team 0314 traveled to Guam, Mariana Islands, for orientation.

2005: Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast. Over 3,000 Seabees from NMCBs 18, 40, 133, Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2, and a Mobile Utilities Support Equipment (MUSE) team assisted in the cleanup operations.

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Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage Command USS Robert Stethem (DDG-63), …

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