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This Week in Seabee History (August 4-10)

Aug. 4, 2019 | By ggranger
Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command [caption id="attachment_14589" align="alignnone" width="640"]
VIRIN: 170804-N-ZY182-4589
Seabee Team 0406 setting the grade on footing forms for Chieu Hoi housing project, Bao Trai, RVN, 1967. (Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

August 4

1971: Cmdr. E.J. Peltier, Jr., CEC, assumed command of ACB 2. He relieved Cmdr. Russell Myers, Jr., CEC, who had command since July 1969.

August 5

1943: 113th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia. 1968: Seabee Team 0310 deployed to Long Xuyen, RVN, and Seabee Team 0311 deployed to Can Tho, RVN, via government aircraft. 1968: Special battalion quarters held to announce that NMCB 74 had been selected as best of type among the Atlantic Fleet Construction Forces for the period of July 1967 to July 1968. 1969: Seabee Team 0312 deployed to Ben Tre, RVN via government aircraft. 1970: Main body of NMCB 71 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for deployment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

August 6

1945: A U.S. Army Air Force B-29 bomber, called the Enola Gay, took off from North Field on the island of Tinian Island and later in the day dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Honshu, Japan. This was the first time that the weapon, until then held secret, was used for a military purpose. The bomb destroyed over four square miles of the city and brought death or injury to over 160,000 people. Seabees of the 6th Naval Construction Brigade participated in many phases of the operation. When the USS Indianapolis arrived at Tinian from the Naval Weapons Center, Port Chicago, California, Seabees helped with the unloading of the components of the atomic bomb. The Seabees then stored the elements in a shed built by themselves, and they then organized a detachment to guard the shed and its mysterious contents. Scientists assembled the atomic bombs in the shed with several Seabees assisting as handymen. Later, when she started on her mission to Japan, the Enola Gay with her atomic bomb took off from Tinian s North field which the Seabees had built.

August 7

2015: Capt. Greg Vinci, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Capt. Eric Aaby, CEC, as commanding officer of Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB), Coronado, California.

August 8

1942: 17th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia. 1945: 7th Special NCB inactivated at Advance Base Depot (ABD), Port Hueneme, California. 1949: The 1st Naval Mobile Construction Battalion -- NMCB 1 was activated for use in advance base construction and participation in special task force projects. 1951: The U.S. Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks (BuDocks) Supply Depot, Davisville, Rhode Island, was disestablished. In its place, BuDocks established U.S. Navy Advance Base Depot, U.S. Navy Construction Battalion Center (CBC), U.S. Navy Advanced Base Tactical Training Center, U.S. Navy Advanced Base Supply Depot, and U.S. Navy Construction Equipment Depot, Davisville, Rhode Island. 1952: Establishment ceremony held for NMCB 9 at CBC, Port Hueneme, California.

August 9

1946: 20th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) inactivated. 1967: NMCB 1 vehicle hit by claymore-type mine on Route 1. One man was killed in action, and five men were wounded. 1968: Cmdr. Warren H. Anderson, CEC, relieved Cmdr. Richard D. Coughlin, CEC, as commanding officer, NMCB 71, at Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam (RVN). 2002: First Naval Construction Division (1NCD) commissioned at Naval Air Base (NAB), Little Creek, Virginia, under command of Rear Adm. Charles Kubic. The Division made the Atlantic and Pacific Naval Construction Forces a unified Seabee command for worldwide operations. 2002: Capt. Gary Engle was selected as the first chief of staff of the newly established 1NCD, which was commissioned to lead the Naval Construction Force (NCF) globally.

August 10

1943: ACORN 11 arrived at Noumea. (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.)