This Week in Seabee History: June 7 – 13

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

USS Robert Stethem (DDG-63), named in honor of Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, circa 1995. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)


June 7

2008: Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 and Armed Forces of the Philippines soldiers from the 546th Engineer Construction Battalion carried a wooden form to the construction site to create concrete manholes for the Greenland subdivision septic tank system Calbayog City, Philippines during a Pacific Partnership engineering civic action program. The Pacific Partnership team of regional partners, non-governmental organizations (NGO), military engineers, doctors and healthcare providers was been asked by the government of the Philippines to conduct various medical, dental and civic-action programs in the area. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

2013: Cmdr. Cameron Geertsema, CEC, relieved Cmdr. Pete Maculan, CEC, as commanding officer, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, at Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan.


June 9

1943: ACORN 1 dissolved. (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each ACORN to maintain the base after the initial construction was completed and the construction battalion had been withdrawn.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.)

1943: This photograph shows Seabees with Construction Battalion Detachment 1006 crossing the Mediterranean onboard LST 388 taking part in the Sicilian Invasion. Causeways that aided the troops ashore can be seen as they are strapped alongside the LST. Pontoons and causeways, a new invention at the time which had yet to be tested in wartime efforts, were about to make their debut in the Atlantic Theater. This was the first use of causeways in war and showed there versatility and indispensability in amphibious landings. CBD 1006 also took part in the Normandy Invasion in June 1944. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

1952: In Korea, a detachment from Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 landed behind enemy lines on the island of Yo. There they built an emergency landing airstrip for crippled U.S. Marine aircraft. The planned 2,400 foot runway had been estimated to be a 45-day project. The Seabees finished it in 16 days.

1965: Just before midnight on June 9, 1965, an estimated 2,000 Viet Cong launched an attack upon the still unfinished U.S. Special Forces camp at Dong Xoai in the Republic of Vietnam. The men of Seabee Team 1104, who were building the camp, joined with a small detachment of U.S. Army Special Forces and 400 RVN irregular forces to put up a heroic defense. At daybreak on June 10th, human wave attacks of Viet Cong made further resistance impossible, so the surviving defenders were evacuated by helicopter.

District Headquarters Building at Dong Xoai, June 1965. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)
Nine members of Seabee Team 1104, 11 members of U.S. Army Special Forces “A” Team 342, and a Vietnamese defense force of approximately 400 men were at Dong Xoai when, just before midnight, elements of the Viet Cong 9th Division, later estimated to be a reinforced regiment of approximately 2,000 men attacked, Two members of the team – CM3 Marvin Shields and SW2 Hoover were killed in action and all surviving members were wounded in action. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

1968: An NMCB 5 patrol, patrolling the area south of Sector II on the Dong Ha Combat Base, RVN, set off an explosive device resulting in the injury of one member of the patrol, Builder (Heavy) 3rd Class T.L. Richart.


June 10

1944: Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia disestablished.

1965: The first Seabee killed in action in Vietnam, Steelworker 2nd Class William C. Hoover, was killed at the Battle of Dong Xoai. Although wounded in the initial Viet Cong mortar barrage, Hoover quickly went to his assigned defensive post and began firing at the enemy. He was subsequently killed in the fighting. For his heroism, Hoover was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. Also killed in the battle was Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin C. Shields, the first Seabee to receive the Medal of Honor. Both men were members of Seabee Team 1104.

2010: Utilitiesman Constructionman James Thomas, left, and other Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 25, worked with fabricated sheet metal at a construction site at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. NMCB-25, deployed from Fort McCoy, Wis., was supporting Joint Task Force Guantanamo and Naval Station Guantanamo Bay by completing construction projects to improve facilities on the base. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

2014: Cmdr. Kemit Spears, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Cmdr. Chad Brooks, CEC, as commanding officer of NMCB 1 during a change of command ceremony at Camp Shields in Okinawa, Japan.


June 11

1965: In Costa Rica, three members of a detachment from Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) 1 saved the lives of three Costa Ricans who were stranded by a six-foot-deep mud flow during a flood control project. No deaths or injuries were reported and property damage was light in the San Jose and Cartago area, where a flood in December 1963 had left nearly 5,000 homeless.

2010: Cmdr. William Whitmire, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), assumed command of Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Gulfport, Mississippi after reliving Capt. Stephanie Jones, CEC.


June 12

1943: ACORN 2 dissolved. (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.)


June 13

1944: The 16th, 21st, 22nd Naval Construction Regiments (NCR) were inactivated; the 2nd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) was inactivated.

1966: Approximately 60 Seabees from Construction Battalion Center (CBC) Port Hueneme, California were sent to help fight the fire in the Los Padres National Forest, 35 miles northeast of Santa Barbara.

2008: Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Miller, CEC, relieved Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Stoddard, CEC, as commanding officer, Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia.

2008: Cmdr. Stephanie Jones, CEC, relieved Capt. Darius Banaji as commander, NCTC, CBC Gulfport Mississippi.

2008: Capt. James Worcester, CEC, relieved Capt. Kelly Schmader as commanding officer, Naval Facilities Expeditionary Logistics Center (NFELC) and as commander, 31st Seabee Readiness Group, Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, California.

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