THIS WEEK IN SEABEE HISTORY

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

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Seabees of 75th NCB convert 55-gallon gas drums into sewage pipes, circa WWII. (Photo courtesy of the Seabee Museum)

Sept. 6

1945:  52nd NCR commissioned. 97th NCB inactivated at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, RI.

1968:  NMCB 5 presented with the “Best of Type” E from Rear Adm. A.C. Husband, CEC, USN, during regimental pass-in-review at CBC, Port Hueneme, CA.

Sept. 7

1942: U.S. Naval Construction Training Center, Davisville, RI, is designated Camp Endicott (concurrent with redesignation of Camp Hollyday at Gulfport, MS, and Camp Rousseau, at Port Hueneme, CA).

1944: 39th NCR activated.

Sept. 8

1945: Section II of 106th NCB inactivated at Iwo Jima.

Sept. 9

1943:  Before dawn on this day, initial Allied landings took place at Salerno, Italy. For these landings, the 12-mile beach was divided into two parts. The north section was invaded by the 46th British Division that landed from tank landing ships with the aid of the 1006th Seabee Causeway Detachment (CBD 1006). The south section was invaded by the American forces that also landed on causeways laid down by Seabee pontoon crews. The Germans, however, were ready at Salerno. The landing ships carrying the Seabees and their pontoons took a frightful beating. Many pontoon strings were sent ashore and blown up on the mined beaches. Allied ships guarding the beaches were bombed by German guided missiles, dive bombers and torpedoes, and shelled by German submarines and patrol craft. During the first 10 days of the battle, Seabees bivouacked on the Salerno beaches while they unloaded ships, built unloading-slips and roadways, and cleared traffic – doing it all while under constant fire. CBD 1006 suffered 28 percent casualties. Lt. Carl M. Olson, CEC, USNR, officer in charge, CBD 1006, and seven of his men were killed in action. The Allies won the battle at Salerno, and Seabee operations were invaluable in the great victory.

1967: The first flight of NMCB 9 advance party arrived at Camp Hoover.

Sept. 10

1943:  First Civil Engineer Corps officer killed in action, Lt. Carl M. Olson at Salerno, Italy.

1945: 8th and 42nd NCRs inactivated. 84th NCB inactivated at Palawan, Philippines.

1965: NMCB 10 renames Camp Banister at Chu Lai, RVN, as Camp Shields in honor of CM3 Marvin G. Shields, fallen hero of the Battle of Dong Xoai.

1968:  Seabee Team 4002 arrived in Davisville, RI, from RVN for reassignment to NMCB 40.

2010:  Capt. Louis V. Cariello, CEC, USN, assumed command of NCBC, Gulfport, MS, and 20th Seabee Readiness Group from Capt. Ed Brown, CEC, USN.

Sept. 11

1943: 11th NCR commissioned.

1945: 62nd NCB inactivated at Iwo Jima.

Sept. 11-30, 1965: Main body of NMCB 8 moved from Port Hueneme, CA, to Da Nang, RVN, via Military Airlift Command.

1966: NMCB 3 received message notification from COMCBPAC of selection as fiscal year 1966 “Best of Type” Mobile Construction Battalion, Pacific Fleet.

Sept. 12

1944: Underwater demolition teams, led by Civil Engineer Corps officers and comprised of mostly Seabees, began clearing the approaches to Peleliu for an amphibious assault. Three days later, U.S. Marines of the First Division came ashore accompanied by Seabees of the 33rd and 73rd NCBs, and CDB 1054. Initially, the CBD 1054 Seabees operated pontoon barges and causeways to assist in the landing of supplies and vehicles, while the Seabees of the 33rd and 73rd worked on the beach unloading cargo. On 19 September, however, when the airfield was captured, they began clearing debris from the airstrips. The following day their construction equipment was brought ashore and the Seabees began making rapid repairs. Only 72 hours later, three squadrons of fighter aircraft were able to land and begin operations. On 23 September, the Seabees began constructing a bomber base which, despite land mines and mortar fire, they made operational in seven days.

1945: 80th NCB inactivated at Subic Bay, Philippines.

1966:  The facility containing the two NMCB camps and the 30th NCR headquarters at Red Beach, RVN, was named Camp Haskins in memory of BUL2 Donald Dean Haskins of NMCB 9 who was killed in action on 28 October 1965, when Camp Adenir, Da Nang, RVN, came under Viet Cong attack.

1968: An NMCB 1 Jeep carrying the Delta Company commander and company chief, Lt. j.g. Arthur D. Moscrip Jr., and BUC W.W. McGinn, hit a mine while enroute to a job site at 2/1 Marines south of Da Nang, RVN. McGinn was killed instantly, while Moscrip died at 0120 the following morning.

Sept. 13

1942:  25th NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, VA.

1945:  6th NCB inactivated at Okinawa, Japan.

1966:  CM3 Marvin G. Shields awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his acts of heroism at the 1965 Battle of Dong Xoai in the Republic of Vietnam. The medal was presented to his wife, Joan, and his daughter, Barbara, by President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House. This Medal of Honor was the first ever awarded to a Seabee.

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