This Week in Seabee History (Week of Dec. 4)

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

Seabees from NMCB 3 install a Butler Building in Vietnam, 1966. In 1965, the Seabee portion of the Vietnam Construction Program was concentrated at three northern coastal points, the ports of Danang, Chu Lai, and Phu Bai. The first six construction battalions sent to Vietnam were deployed to these three points and, by 1966, as the construction program gathered momentum, eight battalions were at work simultaneously in the I Corps Area.  (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

December 5

1945: 7th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) inactivated. 13th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated on Okinawa. 43rd NCB inactivated at Nagasaki, Japan. 116th NCB inactivated at Sasebo, Japan.

1966: Seabee Team 0910 departed the main body at Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) via C-118 aircraft for the 31st NCR to commence military and technical training.

1967: At a convoy passing site, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 personnel were involved when four mines exploded simultaneously. (They were believed to have been command-detonated dud bombs.) Several Seabees were knocked down by the blast and one carried 40 feet through the air. Unbelievably, no casualties were sustained.

1967: Rear Admiral James V. Bartlett, commander of the 3rd Naval Construction Brigade, dedicated Camp Wilkinson in memory of Construction Mechanic 1st Class J.W. Wilkinson, killed during a mortar attack on the Phu Bai/Gia Le bases. Camp Wilkinson was the Seabee camp at the Gia Le Combat Base near Phu Bai, Vietnam.

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December 6

1945: 15th Special NCB inactivated on Kwajalein.

1966: NMCB 74 commissioned.

1971: A training complex built by and for Seabees at Port Hueneme, California was dedicated and named in honor of a fallen United States Marine comrade, Captain John V. Francis. Francis was the assistant military training officer for the 31st NCR in 1969 and 1970. On February 10, 1970, he, along with 12 others, was killed in a helicopter crash while on an inspection tour of Seabee units assigned to Vietnam.

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December 7

1942: 47th NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: 14th NCR inactivated; 135th NCB commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1945: 3rd Naval Construction Brigade inactivated; 24th NCR inactivated; 9th NCB inactivated on Okinawa; 102nd NCB inactivated at San Fernando, Philippines; 113th NCB inactivated at Mindoro, Philippines; 122nd NCB inactivated at Tsingtao, China.

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December 8

1943: 20th Special NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: 51st NCB inactivated on Saipan.

1966: NMCB 7 main body returned to Davisville, Rhode Island in 14 C-130 aircraft flights.

1967: Main body of NMCB 58 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Camp Haskins, North, Da Nang, RVN.

1969: Headquarters of the 30th NCR moved from Vietnam to Okinawa, Japan. This move was the result of the reduction of the Naval Construction Force in Vietnam, which was the result of de-escalation of U.S. activity in Southeast Asia.

1969: Cmdr. C.R. Whipple, commanding officer of NMCB 3, relieved Capt. J.E. Powell, as commander, 30th NCR, at Camp Kinser, Okinawa.

2002: Typhoon Pongsona hits Guam, inflicting considerable damage. NMCB 74 assisted in relief efforts on the island.

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December 9

1942: 52nd NCB commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: ACORN 5 disestablished. (In World War II, Navy ACORN units, composed of Seabees and other components such as aircraft maintenance units, etc., were put together to design, construct, operate and maintain forward landplane and seaplane bases and operational facilities.)

1965: NMCB 4 main body on board Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN; NMCB 4 replaced NMCB 10 at Camp Shields, Okinawa.

1967: The main body of NMCB 58 arrived at Da Nang, RVN. Lt. Cmdr. John L. Dettbarn relieved Lt. Cmdr. Ronald G. Shirley as executive officer of NMCB 7; Seabee Team 1110 relieved Seabee Team 0309, located in Long Xuyen, Chau Thanh District, An Giang Province, RVN. Team 0309 departed Long Xuyen the following day.

1968: NMCB 6 main body of 14 officers and 395 enlisted Seabees deployed to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico via six C-141 aircraft.

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December 10

1945: 37th and 39th NCRs inactivated; 302nd NCB inactivated at Intrepid Point, Hawaii.

1967: Seabee Team 0407 officially relieved by Seabee Team 0809 in the city of Can Tho, Phong Dinh Province, RVN; main body of NMCB 58 arrived in RVN.

1969: NMCB 53 was disestablished at Davisville, Rhode Island; Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) requested assignment of one diving officer to the staff of the Commander 21st NCR and one diving officer to 31st NCR to coordinate and manage a nucleus of Atlantic and Pacific area underwater construction teams.

1970: Seabee Team 0318 deployed to Ben Tre, RVN via government aircraft.


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