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This Week in Seabee History: May 5 - 11

May 6, 2019 | By ggranger
Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command [caption id="attachment_13912" align="alignnone" width="620"]
VIRIN: 170504-N-ZY182-3912
On May 7, 1965, the Seabees of NMCB 10 landed at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam, in support of the III Marine Amphibious Force. This landing marked the first full scale battalion to deploy to Vietnam. After landing, the Seabees began working on the Chu Lai airfield, and establishing a fully operational camp. By 30 May, 3,500 feet of runway were completed, the Marine Air Base Squadron had installed arresting gear and tower facilities, and the field was operational. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

During May

1977: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 performed recovery and reconstruction work of all types on Guam in the wake of Typhoon "Pamela."

May 5

1945: Seabees of the 30th NCR completed the last runway of the four-field B-29 airdrome on Tinian in the Mariana Islands from which B-29 Superfortresses airplanes mounted the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in August 1945. 1968: The first increment of NMCB 1 s advance party of 76 personnel deployed via C-141 aircraft from Davisville, Rhode Island to Da Nang, RVN. 1969: Seabee Team 0410 moved from the Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Port Hueneme, California, where they were in training, to Vietnam beginning their eight-month deployment. The team arrived in Saigon on May 5, 1969. 1970: Seabee Team 0414 with Officer in Charge Lt. j.g. K. Vogel departed CBC Port Hueneme, California for Saigon, RVN for training and indoctrination before proceeding to their final deployment site in Cao Lanh, RVN.

May 6

1968: The main body of NMCB 11 deployed from CBC, Port Hueneme, California to Quang Tri, RVN. 2016: Capt. Chris LaPlatney, CEC, relieved Capt. Marc Delao, CEC, as commanding officer, Amphibious Construction Battalion Two at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.

May 7

1943: 94th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) formation authorized. 1946: 146th NCB inactivated on Okinawa. 1965: Assisted by Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 manning pontoon causeways, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 10 landed on the beaches at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), together with U.S. Marine units. The landing was the first deployment of a full Seabee battalion to Vietnam. NMCB 10 commenced construction of the Chu Lai expeditionary airfield and advance base.   [caption id="attachment_16434" align="alignnone" width="618"]
VIRIN: 180507-N-ZY182-6434
On May 7, 1965, the Seabees of NMCB 10 landed at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam, in support of the III Marine Amphibious Force. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)   1968: NMCB 10 main body departed Quang Tri, RVN for the continental U.S. (CONUS). 1970: NMCB 4 advance party arrived at Camp Kinser and Guam. 1971: Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 201 received the Navy Unit Commendation for meritorious service from June 1966 to March 1971 for providing construction support to Operation Deep Freeze in the Antarctic. The award was presented at the unit s disestablishment ceremony held at Davisville, Rhode Island. At the time, Lt. John E. Perry, Jr., the officer in charge, accepted the award on behalf of the officers and men who had served with the unit. [caption id="attachment_16435" align="alignnone" width="595"]
VIRIN: 180507-N-ZY182-6435
A page from the ASA and CBU 201 Operation Deep Freeze '70 deployment "cruise" book. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)   1971: Seabee Team 0107 departed Tan An, RVN.

May 8

1943: 7th Special NCB commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia. 1945: 46th NCB inactivated at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California. 1967: A detachment of Seabees from NMCB 4 was assigned the task of building underground bunkers, defensive positions, and galley and storage facilities for a United States Army Special Forces unit at Con Thien, RVN. Con Thien was located approximately two kilometers south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). At first, the Seabees conducted their construction work on a nearly normal daily routine and were able to complete the initial portion of their projects without harassment. On May 8, however, Con Thien came under attack by an estimated two reinforced North Vietnamese Army battalions. The enemy fired an estimated 600 to 1,000 rounds of mortar at the camp. The assault on the camp was successfully repelled by Seabee, Marine, and Special Forces personnel. After the attack, the Seabees returned to their construction work, but the camp continued to be harassed by enemy mortar and small artillery fire. From the time of the first attack to the time the entire detachment of 25 Seabees was evacuated on May 13, eleven of the Seabees had been wounded. The construction work for the Special Forces camp was later completed by another detachment of Seabees from the same battalion. 1967: Utilitiesman 1st Class Lloyd O Banion was awarded a Silver Star for his actions during an attack at Con Thien, RVN. 1967: 138 enlisted men and four officers of the NMCB 3 advance party arrived on board at Gia Le Combat Base, RVN. 1968: Arrival of first flight of NMCB 11 at Quang Tri, RVN. 2009: NMCB 5 was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan supporting the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and was one of the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command war fighting support elements providing host nation construction support and security.   [caption id="attachment_16437" align="alignnone" width="618"]
Photo By: MC1 E. Rosario
VIRIN: 180507-N-ZY182-6437
On 8 May 2009, A Seabee assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 leveled the sandy roads at Camp Natasha. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

May 9

1968: Cmdr. W.K. Hartell, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), of NMCB 11, took command of Seabee Camp at Quang Tri Combat Base, RVN. 1969: Seabees of NMCB 40 came under 122mm rocket attack at Camp Campbell, Phu Bai, RVN. Although this was the battalion s third Vietnam deployment, it was the first time their camp had received fire. As a result of this attack, two Seabees were hospitalized and 13 Seabees were treated and returned to duty. 1969: NMCB 40 Phu Bai asphalt plant and fire truck personnel assisted in rescuing two pilots from an Air Force O-2 aircraft, which crashed near the plant. 1969: NMCB 3 base camp nine miles southeast of Hue, RVN received about five rounds of enemy 122 mm rocket fire. Seabee casualties were light with no fatalities and light damage to the camp. 1970: Seabee Teams 0705 and 0706 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island, from Vietnam for reassignment to NMCB 7. 1970: Seabee Team 0414 departed Saigon and arrived in Cao Lanh, RVN, their final deployment site.

May 10

1943: 121st NCB activated at Marine Corps Camp Lejeune, New River, North Carolina. 1944: ACORN 22 dissolved and absorbed into Naval Air Base, Eniwetok. (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.) 1946: 35th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) inactivated; 23rd NCB inactivated on Guam; 54th NCB inactivated at Mactan, Philippines. 1965: The 30th NCR was commissioned at Da Nang, RVN, under the commander of Captain Harold Liberty, CEC, as the planning arm of the Pacific Fleet Seabees (COMCBPAC) in Southeast Asia. 1969: Seabee Team 0914 deployed to RVN on a C-130 aircraft from Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa. 1971: Headquarters of CBMU 302 was moved from Cam Ranh Bay to Bien Hoa, RVN.

May 11

1942: The 4th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia. 1944: The CEC Officers School (CECOS) opened at Camp Endicott, Rhode Island after having been moved from Camp Peary, Virginia. 1967: The NMCB 7 advance party of five officers and 97 men deployed to Da Nang, RVN aboard two C-130 aircraft provided by the Military Airlift Command. 1969: NMCB 40 s Phu Bai asphalt plant crew assisted in re-railing a car of the Republic of Vietnam national railroad after it derailed near the plant.