This Week in Seabee History: March 21-27

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

Throughout March


1993: By the end of March, the Seabees had successfully completed their support of Operation “Restore Hope” and returned to their previous deployment sites or their home ports.

1995: In support of Joint Task Force “Provide Promise,” a 35-person team from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 successfully brought to a close the Navy’s turn at providing public works maintenance and operations functions at the Joint Fleet Hospital in Zagreb, Croatia.

A Seabee operates an earthmover as another Seabee uses a pick axe at one of several sites being worked on at Camp Pleso. (Exact date unknown/National Archives)

1996: NH96 – ES consisted of deploying 46 active-duty personnel from NMCB 7 and 18 reserve personnel from NMCB 14 to El Salvador from January 1996 through March 1996. The detail drilled two water wells, constructed a base camp at La Montana, and constructed a two-room school.

March 21

1942: The first Seabee training camp was commissioned with the official name of United States Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC), Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia. It was named Camp Allen in memory of Capt. Walter H. Allen, who, during the First World War, commanded a Public Works Regiment at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois.

1944: Camp Hollyday, Gulfport, Mississippi disestablished.

1969: Capt. R.M. Fluss, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), was relieved as commanding officer of NMCB 4 by Cmdr. R.D. Gaulden, CEC. The change of command ceremony was held on the Construction Battalion Center (CBC) main parade grinder, Port Hueneme, California.

1981: NMCB 133 was chosen Best of Type in the Atlantic Fleet for fiscal year 1980 for their labors in Diego Garcia. The Kangaroos went on to win the coveted Peltier Award, symbolic of the best Seabee battalion the Naval Construction Force. In a ceremony conducted on May 21, 1981, Captain Herbert H. Lewis, Commanding Officer of NMCB 133, accepted the Peltier Award on behalf of the entire battalion. The winning of the Peltier Award was to be repeated to historical proportions by the battalion during the 1980s.

2003: Seabees cross the line of departure into Iraq with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during Operation Iraqi Freedom.


March 22

1945: Seabee barges put Patton across Rhine River into Germany.

1966: Equipment Operator (Heavy) (EOH) 3 Arnold J. Faulkner of NMCB 4 was killed at Kham Duc, RVN, in a construction accident.

1970: NMCB 1 was relieved at Camp Haskins North, RVN, by NMCB 5.

1970: NMCB 5 commanding officer, Cmdr. R.A. Schade, Jr., CEC, relieved NMCB 1 commanding officer, Cmdr. C.V.W. Popowich, CEC.


March 23

1944: 106th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) split into Section I and Section II.

1967: First increment of the NMCB 11 advance party, consisting of two officers and 40 enlisted personnel, deployed from CBC, Port Hueneme, California via VR-21 aircraft to Da Nang, RVN.


March 25

1967: Seabee Team 0911 departed the main body at Da Nang, RVN, via C-118 aircraft, for the 31st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) to commence military and technical training.

1969: Seabee Team 5301 deployed from Davisville, Rhode Island to RVN for assignment to the 30th NCR for duty at Da Nang, RVN.


March 26

1969: Seabee Teams 0703 and 0704 arrived in Davisville, Rhode Island, from Vietnam for reassignment to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 7.

1970: Seabee Team 0516 was disestablished.

1970: 21st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) Detail Yankee (Underwater Construction Team 1) returned to Davisville, Rhode Island from the Navy’s Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC).


March 27

1964: On Good Friday, a disastrous earthquake and tidal wave leveled much of the city of Kodiak, Alaska. One day later, Seabee volunteers from Port Hueneme, California, were on the scene working at disaster relief. Over a period of several weeks they restored utilities, provided a dry dock for the heavily damaged fishing fleet and participated in the rehabilitation of the city.

2009: Lt. j.g. Francis L. Toner IV, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii, of Panorama City, California, was killed when an Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on U.S. Navy personnel assigned to Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan at Camp Shaheen, Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan.

This Week in Seabee History – March 26, 2017
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presents the Silver Star to Brooke Toner, widow of Navy Lt.j.g. Francis L. Toner, IV, at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2011. Halfway through a year-long Individual Augmentee (IA) assignment with the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command North, Lt.j.g. Toner didn’t hesitate when a terrorist attacked his shipmates on Forward Operating Base Shaheen near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Unarmed, he charged the lone gunman, saving innocent lives that day, March 27, 2009. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)  

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