This Week in Seabee History (October 6 – 12)

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

Seabees with the 31st Naval Construction Battalion building a road on the side of Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

October 6

1945: Seabees are ready to build anything, anytime, anywhere. Thus it came as no surprise to Seabees stationed on Attu in the Aleutian Islands in 1945 when they were ordered to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to build a Fleet Weather Central to be operated by the U.S. Navy. Work on preliminary plans began immediately, and within seven days 20 Seabees were aboard ship with supplies and equipment bound for the southern end of Kamchatka Peninsula. The site chosen for the weather station was near the city of Petropavlovsk. It was in rolling, wooded country within view of the active volcano, Keryakchaya. The weather central itself consisted of six standard-size Quonset huts attached to a central wood structure. The arrangement permitted centralization of utilities and complete access to all facilities without the necessity of going outdoors. It included quarters for the nine Navy officers and the 24 enlisted men assigned to operate the station. The project was completed in 18 days, working 10.5 hours per day. The Seabees were assisted by the weather station personnel and Russian Army laborers. In addition to the housing, the Seabees cleared the site and leveled it, erected radio masts, and installed utility and weather equipment. On 6 October 1945, the project was completed and the Seabees returned to Attu.

1945: 52nd NCB inactivated on Guam.

1966: A 113-man advance party of NMCB 58 arrived at Red Beach, Da Nang, RVN.

1968: First Engineer Battalion (1st MARDIV) relieved NMCB 3 at Camp Faulkner.

1969: Seabee Team 4004 was assigned to 21st NCR for 18 weeks of specialized training.


October 7

1970: Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 201 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for assignment to Antarctica.


October 8

1969: Main body of NMCB 7 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for assignment at Chu Lai, RVN.

1969: NMCB 7 main body consisting of 14 officers and 538 enlisted men arrived on board Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN.


October 9

1942: 31st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1969: Main body of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 58 arrived at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island from Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).


October 10

1942: 30th NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: 125th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1945: 81st NCB inactivated on Guam. 9th Special NCB inactivated at Russells.

1971: Seabee Team 0518 returned to Continental U.S. (CONUS) after completing its deployment to Soc Trang, RVN.

1968: NMCB 8 main body returned to CONUS via commercial and government aircraft from Camp Wilkinson, Phu Bai, RVN.

1969: Cmdr. J.C. Rickels, CEC, USN, commanding officer of NMCB 7, relieved Cmdr. D.J. Mathews, CEC, USN, commanding officer of NMCB 58, at Camp Shields, Chu Lai, RVN.


October 11

1968: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 121 relieved NMCB 8 at Camp Wilkinson.

1970: Seabee Team 4003 returned from Truk Lagoon, for reassignment to NMCB 40.

2007: Seabees assigned to the “Fighting Forty” of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40, repair a damaged section at the Leeward Airport, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

October 12

1943: 132nd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) formed at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1970: The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) authorized establishment of “an underwater facility construction capability” within the Naval Construction Force for purposes of engineering, construction and repair of underwater facilities; unofficial names of UCT 1 and UCT 2.

 

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This Week in Seabee History (September 15 – 21)

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