By Naval Facilities Engineering Command Headquarters Public Affairs
The National Seabee Memorial stands proudly along George Washington Memorial Parkway, near Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., honoring those individuals who were and are part of a Naval Construction Battalion (NCB), as well as family and friends of the Builder-Warriors. Now with the expertise of a world leader in 3D scanning and coordinate mapping, the Seabee Memorial will be preserved for future generations. (U.S. Navy photo)
Since its dedication on May 27, 1974, the Seabee Memorial has proudly honored those individuals who were and are part of a Naval Construction Battalion (NCB). It also stands as a tribute to family members and friends of the Seabees. Now with the expertise of a world leader in 3D scanning and coordinate mapping, the Seabee Memorial will be preserved for future generations.
Installed along George Washington Memorial Parkway in Arlington, Virginia, (near Arlington National Cemetery), the Seabee Memorial was sponsored and built through the hard work and dedication of the Seabee Memorial Association, formed in 1970. As the memorial was constructed, the association changed to the Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association (SMSA) to provide scholarships for the children of Seabees and Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officers.
Felix de Weldon, a famous sculptor, designed the dark brown marble memorial with bronze figures and a bronze back wall. Prior to his sculpting work, de Weldon enlisted in the Navy during World War II.
The monument remains in good condition, but Automated Precision Inc.’s (API’s) 3D scan ensures a “back-up statue” is available and allows for the creation of mini replicas. In addition, a local university will print a 3D model of the monument for the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation. The foundation supports both the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Port Hueneme, California, and the Seabee Heritage Center, Gulfport, Mississippi.
Robb Rudluff, API’s regional manager, and current Seabee has served in the Navy for 15 years and is now in the reserves. API donated the technology, time and services to the project.
Ken Bingham, Seabee veteran and foundation volunteer, lauded the project and stressed the importance of preserving the 42-year-old monument.
“This project has been on my mind for a long time…It’s really important that we preserve this,” Bingham said. “This monument encompasses everything about the Seabees. Can do, can build, can fight.”
As Chairman of the Board of Trustees, CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation, Rear Adm. David Nash (Ret) has a special connection to the Seabee Memorial. From 1995 – 1998, Nash served as “King Bee” when he became Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Commander and Chief of the Civil Engineers.
What does the Seabee Memorial mean to him?
“It’s more about what the memorial means to the Seabees. It’s sort of a grounding,” said Nash. “Every year around the Seabee birthday [first week of March] we all come out to celebrate the history of the Seabees.
“We have World War II Seabees, Korean Seabees, Vietnam Seabees and Afghanistan Seabees. We celebrate that,” Nash said. “[The memorial is] the grounding for the entire cadre.”