This Week in Seabee History (October 13 – 19)

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

Seabee Teams
Seabees cross train in the skills of their colleagues and prepare for deployment with Seabee Technical Assistant Teams (STAT), later called Seabee Teams. These teams consisted of men specially selected from Naval Mobile Construction Battalions to provide direct technical assistance to friendly nations throughout the world. The teams proved exceptionally efficient in rural development programs and earned reverence as the “Navy’s Peace Corps.” (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

October 13

1942: Chief Machinist Mate Henry L. Thompson, 6th NCB, was the first Seabee killed in action. He died during a Japanese naval bombardment of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. Thompson and five other Seabees were huddled in a deep dugout to avoid the huge 14-inch armor-piercing naval shells that the Japanese naval task force hurled into the Seabee camp area. One shell landed directly in the hole. The concussion collapsed the sides of the hole, burying the six men. Two Seabees, bravely disregarding their own safety, dug the six men out of the dirt-filled hole. Though the other five men survived, Thompson was found dead, sitting upright in the bottom of the dugout. It was believed that he died from the concussion as much as from suffocation. The two men who dug out the men, Shipfitter 1st Class H.L. Osborn and Shipfitter 1st Class D.L. Gillis, received the Silver Star for their actions.

1966: Cmdr. E.J. Williams, Jr., CEC, USN, commanding officer of NMCB 5 assumed command of Camp Adenir, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

1969: Main body of Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 201 deployed from Davisville, Rhode Island for assignment to Commander, Antarctic Support Activities for duty at Antarctica.

1969: Seabee Teams 4005 and 4006 were assigned to the 21st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) as alert Seabee Teams for 11 weeks of specialized training.

1974: Reserve battalion Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 17 dedicated its permanent drill site at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Port Hueneme, California. The drill site was dedicated in memory of Construction Mechanic 2nd Class James W. Lynch and Builder 2nd Class William A. Fulton. These men died of natural causes while members of NMCB 17.


October 15

1943: 103rd NCB formed at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: 77th NCB inactivated at Sangley Point, Philippines; 92nd, 107th and 110th NCBs inactivated on Tinian; 13th Special NCB inactivated at Guam.

1964: The main body of NMCB 3 departed Port Hueneme, California, on the USNS Patrick for Guam.

1965: U.S. Naval Support Activity, Da Nang, was established in the RVN under Commander, Service Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Employing about 3,500 naval personnel, the organization was designed to provide logistic support for U.S. and allied units in Vietnam.

1966: CBU 201 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for Antarctica in support of Antarctic Research Program.

1969: Seabee Team 7103 deployed to Vietnam for assignment to Officer in Charge, Construction Battalions Pacific for duty at Phu Vinh, RVN.

1971: 21st NCR moved into new headquarters building, located in Davisville, Rhode Island.


October 16

1967: A critical need developed in the fall of 1967 for an air and helicopter station in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam (RVN). The station was needed to counteract a threatened monsoon offensive by North Vietnamese soldiers. The Naval Construction Force responded to the threat by forming a construction battalion comprised of Seabee detachments representing nine different Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (NMCB) working in Southeast Asia. Work proceeded on the airstrip despite the hindrance of heavy rains and occasional mortar fire. The field was officially opened on Oct. 16.


October 17

1945: 31st and 43rd Naval Construction Regiments (NCR) inactivated; 70th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated on Guam; 123rd NCB inactivated at Samar, Philippines.

1966: NMCB 5 main body completed movement to Camp Adenir.

1967: Seabee Teams 0512, 0808 and 0911 graduated during ceremonies at the Civil Engineer Corps Officer School (CECOS) auditorium, Construction Battalion Center (CBC) Port Hueneme, California, after 13 weeks of training by the 31st NCR.


October 18

1942: 33rd NCB commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1944: Camp Thomas, Davisville, Rhode Island, disestablished.

1945: 12th NCR inactivated.

1967: Seabee Team 0308 arrived at Phu Bai, RVN upon completion of six-month deployment.

1971: Seabee Teams 7107 and 7108 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for reassignment to Officer in Charge, Naval Construction Battalions, U.S. Pacific Fleet Detachment (CBPACDET), RVN, and deployment to My Tho and Go Cong, RVN, respectfully.


October 19

1943: The Secretary of the Navy designated the Advance Base Depot Receiving Barracks, Davisville, Rhode Island as Camp Thomas.

2011: Chief Builder (SCW) Raymond J. Border of West Lafayette, Ohio killed by improvised explosive device in Afghanistan while assessing a road in Paktika Province while deployed with NMCB 74.

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This Week in Seabee History (October 6 – 12)

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