This Week in Seabee History (Week of April 16)

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

this week in seabee history (week of april 16)
Master Chief Glen Mummert shows Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Joe R. Campa Jr. the various locations Navy Seabees assigned to the Naval Support Unit State Department, established in April 1966, are deployed around the world on a map at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C, March 14, 2008. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/080314-N-9818V-020)

April 16

1944: 4th Naval Construction Brigade commissioned.

1967: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3’s pre-advance party arrived at Phu Bai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), to select a new advance base camp site.


April 17

1968: Part of NMCB 71 arrived in Chu Lai, RVN.


April 18

1969: NMCB 4 main body departed Port Hueneme, California, and arrived at Da Nang, RVN.

1972: The last Seabee Team site in Vietnam was closed down by Seabee Team 0321. The team’s employment at Ham Tan, Binh Tuy Province was shortened to four months by an accelerated phasedown schedule.


April 20

1946: 301st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated on Guam.

1970: NMCB 3 advance party returned to the continental United States (CONUS) via commercial aircraft.

1971: NMCB 5 formally relieved NMCB 74 in Vietnam.


April 21

1945: ACORN 50 was decommissioned and Naval Air Base Kobler was commissioned. Used during World War II, an ACORN was a tailored unit designed to carry out the rapid construction and subsequent operation of a landplane and seaplane advance base. Each ACORN had a construction battalion attached to it, as well as trained personnel to operate the control tower, field lighting, aerological unit, transportation, medical, berthing, and messing facilities. A Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) also accompanied each ACORN to maintain the base after the initial construction was completed and the construction battalion had been withdrawn. During the war, ACORNs were sent to such places at Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, Green Island, Rendova, Treasury Island, and Majuro.

1966: A Naval Support Unit of Seabees was established in the Department of State. This assignment came about in 1964, because cleverly concealed microphones and listening devices were discovered in the United States embassy in Moscow. As a result of this discovery, Seabees were sent to the newly built U.S. embassy in Warsaw. They proceeded to tear up floors and walls, and there too discovered ingeniously hidden microphones and listening devices. Consequently, the Department of State decided to use Seabees to keep an eye on foreign contract construction at American diplomatic missions in Soviet-bloc countries and also to perform maintenance duties and minor repair construction. The program was later extended to American diplomatic missions in the Far East and in Africa. These informal arrangements were made more permanent with the organization of the Department of State Naval Support Unit.

1969: Cmdr. R.D. Gaulden, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), commanding officer of NMCB 4, relieved Cmdr. J.J. Lee, CEC, commanding officer of NMCB 12 at Camp Adenir, Da Nang, RVN.

1971: NMCB 3 main body flights, consisting of three passenger flights and one cargo flight, departed Da Nang, RVN, for Port Hueneme, California.


April 22

1943: 91st NCB established at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1971: Cmdr. Henry E. Keppel, Jr., CEC, commanding officer of Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 302, relieved Cmdr. J.D. Kirkpatrick, CEC, commanding officer of NMCB 74, as camp commander of Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Bien Hoa, RVN; main body of NMCB 71 returned to Davisville, Rhode Island, from deployment to Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.

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