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This Week in Seabee History (July 31)

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

NMCB 7 in Vietnam

Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7’s Delta Company pour generator building walls for the Page communication facility in Phu Bai, Republic of Vietnam, May 25, 1966. (Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

July 31

1943: 107th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia. 

1972: Equipment Operator Constructionman Camella Jones formally has her designation changed from Seaman to Constructionman, thereby becoming the first female Seabee at Naval Air Station, Kingsville, Texas. 

August 1

1944: 7th Naval Construction Brigade commissioned; the 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th Naval Construction Regiments (NCR) were commissioned.

1945: ACORN 13 was decommissioned and incorporated into Naval Air Base Samar, Philippines. ACORN 30 was decommissioned and Naval Air Base, Jinamoc Tacloban, Leyte was established. ACORN 45 was decommissioned and Naval Air Base Sangley Point, Cavite, Philippines. established. ACORN 47 was decommissioned and Naval Air Base Puerto Princesa, Philippines established. (Used during World War II, 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each ACORN to maintain the base after the initial construction was completed and the construction battalion had been withdrawn.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 war, ACORNs were sent to such places at Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, Green Island, Rendova, Treasury Island and Majuro.)

1957: The 10th NCB was redesignated as Naval Construction Forces Pacific. This was later to become Naval Construction Battalions, Pacific.

1966: NMCB 9 main body of 646 personnel deployed to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) on seven C-141 aircraft.

1967: The 32nd NCR was established at Gia Le – Phu Bai, RVN. Cmdr. R.L. Foley, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), commanding officer of NMCB 3, assumed command of the 32nd NCR at commissioning ceremonies of the regiment.

1967: Lt. Cmdr. R.S. Stedman, Jr., CEC, was relieved as NMCB 1 executive officer by Lt. Cmdr. W.F. Glover, CEC.

1967: NMCB 121 arrived at Phu Bai, RVN.

1985: NMCB 7 re-commissioned at Construction Battalion center (CBC) Gulfport, Mississippi.

2002: Capt. Gary Engle was selected as the first Chief of Staff of the newly established First Naval Construction Division (1NCD), which was commissioned to lead the Naval Construction Force (NCF) globally.

2007: Lt. Cmdr. Vic Velasco, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Cmdr. Tim Liberatore, CEC, as commanding officer, Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2 at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Port Hueneme, California.

2014: Capt. Marc Delao, CEC, relieved Capt. Joseph Campbell, CEC, as commanding officer of Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.

August 2

1942: 16th NCB commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia.

1965: On this day the Chief of Naval Material transferred the material support responsibility for the Navy’s floating drydocks to the Bureau of Ships from the Bureau of Yards and Docks. The transfer was made in order to provide more effective support to the Navy’s Operating Forces. Material support included research, development, test, procurement, production, supply, and maintenance and modification, as well as the planning, budgeting, and provision of feasibility advice for the floating drydocks.

1971: Cmdr. D.G. Wilson, CEC, relieved CDR H. E. Keppell, Jr., CEC, as commanding officer of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 302.

August 3

1946: 53rd NCB inactivated on Bikini Atoll.

1967: NMCB 8 main body of 20 officers and 664 enlisted personnel deployed by eight C-141s from Chu Lai, RVN to CBC, Port Hueneme, California.

1967: NMCB 6 main body of 19 officers and 533 enlisted men arrived in Camp Miller, Chu Lai, RVN.

1970: Capt. Walter E. Marquardt, Jr., CEC, relieved Capt.Charles C. Heid, CEC, as commander, 21st NCR.

2012: Capt. Joe Campbell, CEC, relieved Capt. Joe Grealish, CEC, as commanding officer, Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 at Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.

August 4

1971: Cmdr. E.J. Peltier, Jr., CEC, assumed command of ACB 2. He relieved Cmdr. Russell Myers, Jr., CEC, who had command since July 1969.

August 5

1943: 113th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1968: Seabee Team 0310 deployed to Long Xuyen, RVN, and Seabee Team 0311 deployed to Can Tho, RVN, via government aircraft.

1968: Special battalion quarters held to announce that NMCB 74 had been selected as best of type among the Atlantic Fleet Construction Forces for the period of July 1967 to July 1968.

1969: Seabee Team 0312 deployed to Ben Tre, RVN via government aircraft.

1970: Main body of NMCB 71 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for deployment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

August 6

1945: A U.S. Army Air Force B-29 bomber, called the Enola Gay, took off from North Field on the island of Tinian Island and later in the day dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. This was the first time that the weapon, until then held secret, was used for a military purpose. The bomb destroyed over four square miles of the city and brought death or injury to over 160,000 people. Seabees of the 6th Naval Construction Brigade participated in many phases of the operation. When the USS Indianapolis arrived at Tinian from the Naval Weapons Center, Port Chicago, California, Seabees helped with the unloading of the components of the atomic bomb. The Seabees then stored the elements in a shed built by themselves, and they then organized a detachment to guard the shed and its mysterious contents. Scientists assembled the atomic bombs in the shed with several Seabees assisting as handymen. Later, when she started on her mission to Japan, the Enola Gay with her atomic bomb took off from Tinian’s North field which the Seabees had built.


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