This Week in Seabee History (Week of Jan. 22)

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

Project Rest Stop personnel survey the jungle on Diego Garcia for a possible naval base in 1967. One of the major projects for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and the major project for the Seabees in the 1970s and early 1980s was the construction of the naval complex on the atoll of Diego Garcia, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.  Diego Garcia, one of the 52 coral atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, is located in the Indian Ocean 960 miles south of India and seven miles south of the equator.  (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

January 22

1943: 76th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia (exact camp unknown).

1945: 137th NCB reactivated at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1968: Seabee Team 0602 arrived in Phouc Le, Republic of Vietnam (RVN). The Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 rock crusher site was named Camp Coker in memory of Yeoman 3rd Class D.C. Coker who was killed in a mortar attack on 30 August 1967. Seabee Team 4002 Advance Party arrived at Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN.

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January 23

1968: NMCB 74 was relieved by NMCB 62 at Camp Haskins, South, RVN.

1969: The commanding officer of NMCB 5, Cmdr. R.B. Wilson, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), officially relieved the commanding officer of NMCB 1, Cmdr. T.J. Mitchell, CEC, as commander of Camp Hoover, Da Nang, RVN, and Camp DeShurley, Phu Loc, RVN.

1971: Nine-man reconnaissance party lands at Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), to confirm planning information and carry out preliminary survey of beach landing areas for 50-man party of NMCB 1 and Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2 to arrive in March and begin construction of U.S. Naval Communication Station Diego Garcia, BIOT.

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January 24

1946: 36th NCB inactivated on Okinawa.

1968: Cmdr. William J. Richeson, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 62, relieved Cmdr. Gordon W. Schley, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 74, at Camp Haskins South, RVN.

Jan. 24-27, 1968: The main body of NMCB 62 arrived in RVN.

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January 25

1944: 22nd Special NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1963: Seabee Teams 0501 and 0502 were the first Seabee Teams to arrive in Vietnam. Team 0501 was employed at Dam Pau in central South Vietnam and Team 0502 was employed at Tri Ton, southwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border. Both teams were employed in support of the United States Army Special forces.

1971: The Navy League Councils throughout the country sponsor Sea Cadet units which take 14 to 17 year old youngsters and give them “boot camp” and technical training aimed at qualifying them up to E-3. Sea Cadet graduates who later enlist in the Navy can enlist at their level of attainment in the Sea Cadet program.

2008: NMCB 15 steelworkers and engineers of the 814th Multirole Bridge Company completed construction of a floating span of a Mabey Johnson Float Bridge in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

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January 26

1943: ACORN 4 arrived at Noumea. (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.)

1967: Seabee Team 0511 departed the main body at Da Nang, RVN, for training at the 31st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR), Port Hueneme, California.

1972: Seabee Team 6207 departed Yap Island for Guam.

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January 27

1942: The first Seabee detachment, the Bobcats, left the United States for Bora Bora in the Society Islands. The Bobcats were the advance part of more than 325,000 men who served in the Naval Construction Force during the Second World War.

1945: 143rd NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, RI.

1947: 105th NCB reactivated, being re-designated as ACB 2 in October 1950.

Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 1967: NMCB 9 main body departed Da Nang, RVN.

1972: Seabee Team 13308 returned to Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Gulfport, Mississippi.

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January 28

1943: 82nd NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1946: 144th NCB inactivated at Guam.

1963: NMCB 10’s first Sangley Point advance party of 2 officers and 44 enlisted men departed the continental United States (CONUS) aboard a VR-21 aircraft for the Philippines.

Jan. 28-Feb. 7, 1968: NMCB 3 main body flights departed Vietnam for CONUS.

1969: Detachment of Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion Two augmented by 17 Seabee divers from the 21st NCR and Atlantic and Pacific mobile construction battalions install TEKTITE I habitat on the ocean floor on 28 January and standby to assist aquanauts with any problems or potential emergencies. Full installation of the habitat completed on February 12.

1970: Seabee Team 4003 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for reassignment to Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Construction Battalion Pacific Detachment (CBPACDET), Guam and deployment at Truk Island, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI).

1971: Seabee Team 0414 reported in at CBC, Port Hueneme, California.