This Week in Seabee History: July 19 – 25

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

The front cover of the July 29, 1966 edition of the first Seabee Courier. (Photo by Brian Lamar)

July 20

1943: Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Richard Maurer, Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) 63, was cited for the Navy Silver Star following an attack near Bairoko Harbor, New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands by the 1st Marine Raider Regiment. A resident of Seattle, Washington before becoming a member of the 63rd Battalion, Maurer had made many friendships among the Marine Raiders when they were encamped close to the Seabees on Guadalcanal. When the Raiders embarked for their historic attack, Maurer slipped aboard without permission of his superior officers. The gravity of his offense, for which he was ultimately brought to trial, was extenuated, however, by his gallant actions during the attack. From Marine Corps sources, it was learned that Maurer, after attaching himself to a machine gun crew, had serviced and manned the gun with devastating effect upon the enemy when all other crew members had been killed or disabled by mortar fire. He continued by his gun until reinforcements arrived. The Marine officer in charge praised Maurer’s performance and instituted citation proceedings.

1945: 63rd NCB inactivated at Manila, Philippines.

1968: Cmdr. L.D. Lawson, CEC, relieved Cmdr. R.B. Wilson, CEC, as NMCB 7 relieved NMCB 5 at Camp Barnes, Dong Ha Combat Base, RVN.

Jul. 20-22, 1968: Main body of NMCB 7 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for duty at Dong Ha, RVN.


July 21

1969: Camp Campbell, Phu Bai was officially turned over by NMCB 40 to NMCB 1; main body of NMCB 40 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island, from Phu Bai, RVN.


July 22

1943: 109th NCB formed at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1968: Master Chief William Shannon became the first Seabee senior enlisted advisor to the commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and chief of Navy Civil Engineers. As advisor to the commander, Shannon acted as a point of contact at the command headquarters for all Group VIII personnel in the field.

2016: Lt. Cmdr. Javier Lopez-Martinez, CEC, relieved Lt. Cmdr. Eric Hass, CEC, as commanding officer of CBMU 303 at a ceremony aboard Naval Base San Diego.


July 23

1943: 111th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.


July 24

1940: Rear Adm. Ben Moreell approves plans for Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island. This will later become the first home for the Naval Construction Force in 1941.

Admiral Ben Moreell was the chief of the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Yards and Docks and of the Civil Engineer Corps. Best known to the Seabee’s as Father of the Navy’s Seabees or the King Bee.

1944: Tinian was invaded by United States Marines, accompanied by the 18th and 121st Naval Construction Battalions (NCB). The Seabees brought their bulldozers and pontoon causeways ashore on D-Day. Because Tinian’s narrow beaches were covered with low coral cliffs, Seabees devised and operated special movable raps called Doodlebugs. These Doodlebugs made the landings possible.

1967: Lt. Cmdr. J.E. McNeill, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Lt. Cmdr. T.F. Stallman, CEC, as executive officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4.

1967: Seabee Team 7101 departed Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) for Davisville, Rhode Island for formal Seabee Team training.

1971: Seabee Team 0108 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island from Palau, Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) for reassignment to NMCB 1.


July 25

1943: The 90th NCB was activated at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: The 49th NCB was inactivated on Guam.

2014: NMCB 74 was decommissioned at Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Gulfport, Mississippi.

EQCM Helen Daniel, command master chief, and BU1 Jonathan Olds, NMCB 74, case the battalion’s colors during a decommissioning ceremony on board NCBC Gulfport, Miss., July 25. Seabees from all eras attended the ceremony, including retired Cmdr. Gordon Schley, commanding officer of the battalion at its recommissioning in 1966. Photo by CE2 Courtney Demastus

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