This Week in Seabee History (September 1 – 7)

Consolidated by the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage Command

5 September 2005 – A U.S. Navy equipment operator assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven (NMCB-7), cleared debris at Jones Park in Gulfport, Mississippi. The Seabees were supporting the U.S. Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Sheriff’s Department to get the city of Gulfport and its waterways back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina. The Navy’s involvement in the Hurricane Katrina humanitarian assistance operations was led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in conjunction with the Department of Defense. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

September 1

1942: Officers and men of the 6th NCB landed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. These were the first Seabees to land on any enemy held island in World War II and the first to engage the enemy in combat. The 6th Seabees tackled their most important job: repairing the airstrip then named Henderson Field. It was a never-ending job, for as fast as the builders leveled the strip and put down Marston matting, the Japanese would send bombers overhead to drop high explosive bombs on the strip. As the fighting around the island increased, the Seabees developed a system of repairing the damaged airstrip in minutes. Less than 40 minutes after Japanese bombers swooped down and strafed the field, the Seabees, waiting with previously-loaded trucks, would dart out on the strip and completely fill in the bomb holes. Many times the Seabees worked furiously to repair the field while crippled U.S. Marine interceptors circled overhead waiting to land. Several times while ducking bullets, the Seabees worked on one end of the field making repairs as the Japanese infantry fought with U.S. Marine defenders at the other end. On several occasions the Seabees fought beside the U.S. Marines in hand-to-hand combat against the Japanese troops.

1943: The 1st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) was inactivated.

1944: Port Directors School established at Davisville, Rhode Island; it was discontinued on Dec. 31, 1944.

1965: Capt. Nelson Anderson, CEC, relieved Capt. Harold Liberty, CEC, as commander, 30th NCR.

1969: The first Reserve Naval Construction Brigade was established under the command of Rear Admiral George Reider, CEC.

1969: Seabee Teams 0705 and 0706 deployed to the RVN for assignment to Officer in Charge, Construction Battalions, Pacific (CBPAC) for duty at Thu Duc and Lai Thieu.


September 2

1942: The 22nd NCB was commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: The 128th NCB was activated at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia; the 131st NCB was commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary.

1968: Lt. Cmdr. H.W. Filbry, CEC, relieved Lt. Cmdr. M.H. Harper, CEC, as commanding officer of CBMU 302. CBMU 302 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation during the change of command ceremony for the period ending Jan. 1, 1968.

1969: Typhoon Doris severely damaged the Quang Tri Camp of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 and various other camps and civilian communities in the Republic of Vietnam. A quirk of fate some might say, because half of the battalion’s main body was still at home port in Gulfport, Mississippi when the Gulf coast was hit by Hurricane Camille on August 19, 1969. After Camille, this half joined the other half already in Vietnam just in time to encounter Typhoon Doris. Thus, nearly half of the Seabees of the battalion suffered through two severe tropical storms within two weeks, each storm on a different side of the world.


September 3

1967: At Dong Ha, RVN, five miles south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), a combined Viet Cong–North Vietnamese Army rocket attack detonated 20,000 tons of ammunition and 40,000 gallons of aviation fuel near NMCB 11’s camp. The explosions rocked the base for eight hours, and this represented the largest ammunition disaster in recorded history. Miraculously, no Americans or South Vietnamese were killed.


September 4

1942: 23rd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia. 24th NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: Camp Lee-Stephenson established at Eastport (Quoddy Village), Maine.

2009: Capt. Allen M. Stratman, CEC, relieved Capt. Jeffrey T. Borowy, CEC, as commander, 25th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR), at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC), Gulfport, Mississippi.


September 5

1943: 126th NCB formed at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1969: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 advance party deployed to Camp Kinser, Okinawa, via government aircraft.


September 6

1945: 52nd NCR commissioned. 97th NCB inactivated at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1968: NMCB 5 presented with the “Best of Type” Battle ‘E’ from Rear Adm. A.C. Husband, CEC, during regimental pass-in-review at Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Port Hueneme, California.

2012: Capt. Darius Banaji, CEC, relieved Capt. Kathryn Donovan, CEC, as commander, 22nd NCR, at NCBC Gulfport, Mississippi.


September 7

1942: NCTC Davisville, Rhode Island, is designated Camp Endicott (concurrent with redesignation of Camp Hollyday at Gulfport, Mississippi and Camp Rousseau, at Port Hueneme, California).

1944: 39th NCR activated.

2011: Capt. Darius Banaji, CEC, relieved Capt. Allan Stratman, CEC, as commander of the 25th NCR at NCBC Gulfport, Mississippi.

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This Week in Seabee History (October 13 – 19)

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage Command