This Week in Seabee History (Week of March 19)

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

this week in seabee histormy

Seabees being inspected at Camp Allen in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1942.  After completing three weeks of boot training at Camp Allen, and later at its successor, Camp Peary, the Seabees were formed into construction battalions or other types of construction units. Some of the very first battalions were sent overseas immediately upon completion of boot training because of the urgent need for naval construction. The usual procedure, however, was to ship the newly- formed battalion to an Advanced Base Depot at either Davisville, Rhode Island, or Port Hueneme, California. There the battalions, and later other units, underwent staging and outfitting. The Seabees received about six weeks of advanced military and technical training, underwent considerable unit training, and then were shipped to an overseas assignment. About 175,000 Seabees were staged directly through Port Hueneme during the war. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

March 19

1942: The Secretary of the Navy authorized officers of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) to exercise military command over all officers and enlisted men assigned to construction units. Prior to this date, military command of naval personnel was limited to line officers.

1967: The commanding officer, operations officer, supply officer, Alpha Company commander, and one chief petty officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 departed Port Hueneme, California, to act as an Advance Planning Group for the battalion deployment.

1969: NMCB 3 relieved by NMCB 8 at Camp Haskins South, Republic of Vietnam (RVN); NMCB 3 main body returned to the continental United States (CONUS) via government and commercial aircraft.

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March 20

1971: NMCB 5’s deployment to WESTPAC (Western Pacific) began, including Vietnam, Guam, and the Philippines.

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March 21

1942: The first Seabee training camp was commissioned with the official name of United States Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC), Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia. It was named Camp Allen in memory of Capt. Walter H. Allen, who, during the First World War, commanded a Public Works Regiment at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois.

1944: Camp Hollyday, Gulfport, Mississippi disestablished.

1969: Capt. R.M. Fluss, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), was relieved as commanding officer of NMCB 4 by Cmdr. R.D. Gaulden, CEC. The change of command ceremony was held on the Construction Battalion Center (CBC) main parade grinder, Port Hueneme, California.

2003: Seabees cross the line of departure into Iraq with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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March 22

1945: Seabee barges put Patton across Rhine River into Germany.

1966: Equipment Operator (Heavy) (EOH) 3 Arnold J. Faulkner of NMCB 4 was killed at Kham Duc, RVN, in a construction accident.

1970: NMCB 1 was relieved at Camp Haskins North, RVN, by NMCB 5.

1970: NMCB 5 commanding officer, Cmdr. R.A. Schade, Jr., CEC, relieved NMCB 1 commanding officer, Cmdr. C.V.W. Popowich, CEC.

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March 23

1944: 106th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) split into Section I and Section II.

1967: First increment of the NMCB 11 advance party, consisting of two officers and 40 enlisted personnel, deployed from CBC, Port Hueneme, California via VR-21 aircraft to Da Nang, RVN.

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March 25

1967: Seabee Team 0911 departed the main body at Da Nang, RVN, via C-118 aircraft, for the 31st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) to commence military and technical training.

1969: Seabee Team 5301 deployed from Davisville, Rhode Island to RVN for assignment to the 30th NCR for duty at Da Nang, RVN.


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