This Week in Seabee History: April 14 – 20

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)

April 14

1945: 55th NCB inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California.

1969: Fire destroyed the headquarters building of the 21st NCR at Davisville, Rhode Island. In addition to firemen, about 300 Seabees courageously manned fire hoses in a vain attempt to save the structure. During the fire, Seabees rescued important property from the building. There were no serious injuries, but many of the Seabees and firemen suffered from smoke inhalation.

1969: Team 0913 completed reconstruction of a defensive berm around Fire Base Diamond III in response to an emergency request. Five hours later, the fire base came under intensive attack with 198 enemy killed in action, 18 U.S. killed in action, and 13 Americans wounded. The defensive berm was credited with saving numerous lives and possibly preventing overrunning of the fire base.

1970: Seabee Team 0413 with Officer in Charge Lt. j.g. W.R. Riggs, CEC, departed Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, California, for training and indoctrination on Guam before proceeding to their final deployment site.

April 15

1944: ACORN 14 dissolved and was absorbed into Naval Air Base, Hawkins Field, Tarawa; ACORN 17 dissolved and was absorbed into Naval Air Base, Mullinix Field, Tarawa; ACORN 16 dissolved and was absorbed into Naval Air Base, Apamama.

1946: 1st Special NCB inactivated at Kyushu, Japan.

1952: NMCB 9 activated.

1954: Monday, April 15, 1954, was a banner day for the Naval Construction Battalion Center at Port Hueneme, California. On this day, the first permanent buildings ever constructed on the Center were completed and dedicated. The barracks were named Thomas Barracks in honor of the late Capt. Robert E. Thomas, CEC. He served 26 years in the Navy and was the first Director of the Pacific Division of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, the predecessor of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific. In January 1943, he died in a plane crash near San Francisco. Mrs. Robert E. Thomas, along with her son, Cmdr. Robert E. Thomas, Jr., CEC, unveiled the commemorative plaque in honor of her husband.

1966: NMCB 7 deployed to Hue – Phu Bai, RVN.

1969: The 21st NCR headquarters was relocated temporarily in Building 101, Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Davisville, Rhode Island.

1971: NMCB 3 turned over Camp Haskins South to the U.S. Army 57th Transport Battalion.

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.

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