This Week in Seabee History (Week of Nov. 6)

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

ChuLai

Aerial photograph of the Chu Lai base taken on July 3, 1965. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 was the last full battalion to depart from Vietnam. Their departure in 1971 marked the end of a significant chapter in the Seabee effort in Vietnam, an effort which began at Chu Lai in 1965 and resulted in the construction of approximately $200 million worth of facilities in support of U.S. forces.  (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

November 6

1942: 40th NCB (Naval Construction Battalion) commissioned at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

—————-

November 7

1971: Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 arrived at their homeport of Port Hueneme, California. This was the last full battalion to depart from Vietnam. Their departure marked the end of a significant chapter in the Seabee effort in Vietnam, an effort which began at Chu Lai in 1965 and resulted in the construction of approximately $200 million worth of facilities in support of U.S. forces.

—————-

November 8

1942: Seabees encountered their first combat in the European theater of operations when they landed with the assault forces on the beaches of North Africa. The Seabees built facilities at Oran, Casablanca, Safi, and Fedala. Later, as the American Army moved across Africa toward Tunisia and the final showdown with the Germans, the Seabees built staging and training areas along the coast as far as Arzeu. On the west coast of Africa, the Seabees built a huge Naval Air Station in Port Lyautey, Morocco and supplementary air and supply bases at Agadir and Casablanca. Through these later ports poured materials, men, and equipment needed for the coming invasion of Sicily and the Italian mainland.

1944: 13th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) inactivated.

1945: 20th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated on Okinawa.

1969: Seabee Teams 1113 and 1114 transferred to NMCB 3 to become Seabee Teams 0315 and 0316, respectively, due to disestablishment of NMCB 11.

1971: Seabee Teams 1021 and 1022 commenced Seabee Team Training.

—————-

November 9

1945: 26th Special NCB inactivated on Oahu, Hawaii.

1965: NMCB 4 transferred to Commander, Naval Construction Battalions, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMCBPAC) from Commander, Naval Construction Battalions, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMCBLANT).

1970: NMCB 3 main body flights consisting of three passenger flights and two cargo flights departed Port Hueneme, California and arrived at Camp Haskins South, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

1971: 3rd Naval Construction Brigade officially disestablished.

—————-

November 10

1945: 137th NCB inactivated on Okinawa. 16th Special NCB inactivated on Guam.

—————-

November 11

1962: During Typhoon Karen which struck Guam, winds reached 142 miles per hour with gusts of up to 200 miles per hour. The typhoon injured hundreds of people and left nine dead. Damage to U.S. defense facilities reached $200 million. NMCB 5, stationed on Guam at the time of the typhoon, aided in restoring the wrecked island. The shops and much of the equipment of the Seabees had been destroyed, but with what they still had, they worked hard and fast. They erected plywood housing and canvas tents to shelter the homeless, cleared debris from roads and streets, and rebuilt bridges. Seabee electricians raised 1,000 new power line poles and restored light, power, and communications to the island. NMCB 11 arrived in December and a massive reconstruction program was started. By early 1963, Guam’s naval facilities began to look normal again.

1968: An unnamed street in Gulfport, Mississippi was named Engram Drive in honor of Capt. Robert C. Engram, Gulfport Seabee Center commanding officer.

—————-

November 12

1942: 43rd NCB activated at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1942: Camp Peary, Williamsburg, Virginia established.

1945: 111th NCB inactivated on Samar, Philippines.

1967: NMCB 5 advance party arrived at Camp Barnes, RVN.

1969: Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1 was established in the 21st NCR as a unit to conduct training and to perform construction, as required, to support Navy underwater projects.

 


Check Also

This Week in Seabee History (August 4-10)

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