This Week in Seabee History: April 28 – May 4

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

TWiSH (4-30-17)

Seabees attend a memorial service in Fallujah, Iraq, on May 15, 2004, honoring seven Seabees from NMCB-14 who died as a result of hostile fire in the Al Anbar Province on April 30 and May 2. (Photo by PH2 Eric Powell)

April 28

1943: 71st and 74th NCBs commissioned at Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1961: NMCB 9 was chosen to receive the first Peltier Award. Named in honor of Rear Admiral Eugene J. Peltier, a former Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, the award is given annually to the most outstanding Seabee battalion. The Society of American Military Engineers presented the award, in association with the United States Navy.

1967: NMCB 11, the first battalion to be deployed to the Northern I Corps, commenced arriving at the Dong Ha Forward Combat Base, RVN.

1968: Lt. Cmdr. W.A. Simmons, CEC, relieved Cmdr. G.H. Brown, CEC, as executive officer, NMCB 71.

1971: NMCB 62 advance party, first and second flights, arrived at Camp Moscrip, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico with 2 officers and 102 enlisted men.

1971: Seabee Team 0519 departed the continental United States (CONUS) enroute to the TTPI.

Rear Adm. Eugene J. Peltier, who served as Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and Chief of the Civil Engineer Corps from December 1957 to February 1962, and led the complete reorganization of the Bureau to meet the demands of the space age. On April 28, 1961, NMCB 9 was chosen to receive the first Peltier Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding Seabee battalion. The Society of American Military Engineers presents the award, in association with the Navy. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

April 29

1965: NMCB 10 departed Okinawa via Navy ships (2 LSTs, 1 LSD, and 1 AKA) for Chu Lai, RVN.

1968: Seabee Team 1012 departed CBC Port Hueneme, California with 13 men for Thailand.

1971: NMCB 1 advance party departed Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico for Davisville, Rhode Island. Seabee Team 4005 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for reassignment to OIC CBPAC DET, Guam and deployment to Truk, TTPI.

April 30

1945: 44th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California; 56th NCB inactivated on Guam.

1946: 134th NCB inactivated on Guam.

1968: Lt. Cmdr. W.A. Simmons, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Cmdr. G.H. Brown, CEC, as executive officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 71.

2004: In Anbar Province, Iraq, an improvised explosive device detonated and hit the vehicle carrying Equipment Operator 3rd Class Christopher M. Dickerson of Eastman, Georgia, and Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Jason B. Dwelley of Apopka, Florida. Both men from NMCB 14 became the first Seabees killed in action since the Vietnam War.

May 1

1942: 3rd NCB commissioned.

1945: 33rd Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) inactivated; 33rd NCB inactivated at Peleliu; 57th NCB inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California.

1946: 32nd Special NCB inactivated at Tsingtao, China.

1966: NMCB 4 at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), began hiring and training of local Vietnamese laborers in the trades of carpenter, riggers, welder, mason, and automotive mechanics.

1970: Seabee Team 0314 returned to the continental U.S. (CONUS) via government aircraft.

1971: Headquarters of the 32nd NCB was moved from Vietnam to Roosevelt Road, Puerto Rico.

May 2

1944: 31st Special NCB commissioned at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCTC) Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1945: 16th NCB inactivated at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

1968: Cmdr. W.K. Hartell, CEC, took command of the Seabee camp at Quang Tri Combat Base, RVN.

2004: A mortar attack at Camp Ramadi, Al-Ramadi, Al Anbar Province, Iraq killed five members of NMCB 14, one U.S. Army soldier, and wounded 28 other personnel. This represented the deadliest day for the Seabees since the Vietnam War.

May 3

1951: NMCB 6 activated.

1967: The first flight of NMCB 3’s advance party departed Port Hueneme, California in C-118’s for Phu Bai, RVN.

May 4

1944: ACORN 20 dissolved, incorporated into Naval Air Base Majuro; ACORN 21 dissolved and absorbed into Naval Air Base, Roi. (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.)

1967: Seabee Team 1109 arrived on site at Chiang Kham, Changwat Chiang Rai, North Thailand, to relieve Seabee Team 0909.