This Week in Seabee History (Week of February 7)

Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

Mixing Concrete on Tinian

Seabees mixing concrete on Tinian during World War II.  (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

February 7

1943: 66th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1968: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3’s seventh flight to the continental U.S. (CONUS) received two small arms rounds while taking off from Phu Bai Airport, Republic of Vietnam (RVN); Lt. Cmdr. Daniel B. Leonard, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Lt. Cmdr. Stanley P. Stewart, CEC, as executive officer of NMCB 40.

1969: Seabee Teams 0101 and 0102 arrived in Davisville, Rhode Island from RVN for reassignment to NMCB 1.

1974: NMCB 71 turned over the new Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to Commander, Naval Support Force Antarctica. This ended the involvement of Seabees at construction and facility maintenance at the South Pole. Thereafter the National Science Foundation contracted out all construction and maintenance work at the South Pole. (Read Rendezvous with Penguins: Seabee Construction of the South Pole Dome for more information.)

February 8

1943: 69th NCB commissioned at Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia; 88th NCB activated at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1967: Main body of NMCB 6 with 22 officers and 619 men departed Da Nang, RVN for Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Davisville, Rhode Island. (One flight terminated at Travis Air Force Base, California.)

1967: Main body of NMCB 133 arrived in RVN.

February 9

1943: The Acorn Assembly and Training Detachment was established at Port Hueneme, California. The chief functions of the unit were the organization, outfitting, and staging of Acorns. An Acorn was a “tailored” unit designed to carry out the rapid construction and subsequent operation of a landplane and seaplane advance base. Each Acorn had a construction battalion attached to it, as well as trained personnel to operate the control tower, field lighting, aerological unit, transportation, medical, berthing, and messing facilities. A Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) also accompanied each Acorn to maintain the base after the initial construction was completed and the construction battalion had been withdrawn. During the World War II,  Acorns sent to such places at Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, Green Island, Rendova, Treasury Island, and Majuro.

1943: 78th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1970: Seabee Team 0105 departed Vietnam for CONUS for team training.

February 10

1943: 84th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1945: 137th NCB commissioned at ABD Camp Thomas, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1968: Capt. R.D. Thorson, commander, 31st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) presided over an awards ceremony held at CBC, Port Hueneme, California, where 12 NMCB 4 officers and men received decorations. The recognition included one Bronze Star with combat “V” that was awarded to Cmdr. R.M. Fluss, commanding officer, NMCB 4, six Navy Commendation Medals, and five Navy Achievement Medals.  Fluss presented Meritorious Achievement Certificates-Vietnam (MACV) to 92 NMCB 4 personnel for meritorious service during the battalion’s Da Nang, RVN deployment.

February 11

1974: Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1’s permanent duty station changed from CBC Davisville, Rhode Island to Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, Virginia, effective July 1, 1974.

February 12

1951: NMCB 4 activated.

1966: An NMCB 1 advance party of one officer and 100 enlisted men departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Da Nang, RVN.

1968: NMCB 4 main body deployed from Port Hueneme, California to Phu Bai, RVN. The battalion deployed to Vietnam seven weeks before the schedule deployment date.

1971: Cmdr. Don P. Johnson, CEC, commanding officer of NMCB 10, assumed from Cmdr. J.A. Ruscyk, CEC, commanding officer of NMCB 4 tenancy of Camp Shields and the status of Pacific Fleet Alert Battalion.

February 13

1943: 81st NCB commissioned at Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: Chief of Naval Operations Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King approved the retention of construction battalions as a permanent and integral part of the postwar Navy. When originally established in the Second World War, the Seabee organization was meant to be only a wartime expedient.

1967: NMCB 4 began survey work on the Liberty Bridge project, Da Nang, RVN.

1969: NMCB 3 advance party returned to CONUS via government aircraft.

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