This Week in Seabee History: February 9-15

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

This Week in Seabee History (Week of Feb. 12)
The start of the Second World War sent naval survey teams up and down the Pacific coast looking for new locations for naval facilities. One team was looking for a site to build a naval base to support naval construction activities at advanced bases in the Pacific. The team came to Port Hueneme, California, and recognized it as an ideal port, because it was the only Pacific deep water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Word of the discovery was sent to Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, who was busily putting together the new construction battalions. Port Hueneme therefore was tentatively selected as the site for the advanced base depot on the Pacific coast. On February 16, 1942, Admiral Moreell sent his recommendation to the Chief of Naval Operations and it was speedily approved. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

February 9

1943: The Acorn Assembly and Training Detachment was established at Port Hueneme, California. The chief functions of the unit were the organization, outfitting, and staging of Acorns. 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each Acorn to maintain the base after the initial construction was completed and the construction battalion had been withdrawn.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 World War II, Acorns sent to such places at Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, Green Island, Rendova, Treasury Island, and Majuro.

1943: 78th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1970: Seabee Team 0105 departed Vietnam for CONUS for team training.


February 10

1943: 84th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1945: 137th NCB commissioned at Advance Base Depot (ABD) Camp Thomas, Davisville, Rhode Island.

1968: Capt. R.D. Thorson, commander, 31st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) presided over an awards ceremony held at CBC, Port Hueneme, California, where 12 NMCB 4 officers and men received decorations. The recognition included one Bronze Star with combat “V” that was awarded to Cmdr. R.M. Fluss, commanding officer, NMCB 4, six Navy Commendation Medals, and five Navy Achievement Medals. Fluss presented Meritorious Achievement Certificates-Vietnam (MACV) to 92 NMCB 4 personnel for meritorious service during the battalion’s Da Nang, RVN, deployment.


February 11

1974: Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1’s permanent duty station changed from CBC Davisville, Rhode Island to Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, Virginia, effective July 1, 1974.

2003: Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seventy Four (NMCB-74) cleaned their weapons, played cards and wrote letters while they unwound in their 60 man field tents. NMCB-74 was based out of Gulfport, Miss., and forward deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

February 12

1951: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 activated.

1966: An NMCB 1 advance party of one officer and 100 enlisted men departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

1968: The NMCB 4 main body deployed from Port Hueneme, California to Phu Bai, RVN. The battalion deployed to Vietnam seven weeks before the schedule deployment date.

1971: Cmdr. Don P. Johnson, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), commanding officer of NMCB 10, assumed from Cmdr. J.A. Ruscyk, CEC, commanding officer of NMCB 4 tenancy of Camp Shields and the status of Pacific Fleet Alert Battalion.


February 13

1943: 81st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: Chief of Naval Operations Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King approved the retention of construction battalions as a permanent and integral part of the postwar Navy. When originally established in the Second World War, the Seabee organization was meant to be only a wartime expedient.

1967: NMCB 4 began survey work on the Liberty Bridge project, Da Nang, RVN.

1969: NMCB 3 advance party returned to the continental United States (CONUS) via government aircraft.

2004: Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven Four (NMCB 74), Detachment Souda Bay, were called on to assist when a large winter storm dumped over 18 inches of snow on the Naval Support Activity. (Photos courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

February 14

1946: 86th NCB inactivated on Okinawa.

1966: NMCB 1 advance party arrived in Da Nang, RVN.

1968: Cmdr. D.N. Shockey, CEC, was relieved as commanding officer of NMCB 9 by Cmdr. J.A. Wright, CEC, at a formal change of command ceremony held at Camp Hoover, Da Nang, RVN.

1968: NMCB 4 arrived at Da Nang, RVN.


February 15

1943: 6th Naval Construction regiment (NCR) commissioned.

1944: 24th NCR established.

1974: Underwater Construction Teams (UCT) 1 and 2 commissioned with Officers in Charge.

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