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This Week in Seabee History (October 20 - 26)

Oct. 20, 2019 | By ggranger
Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage Command [caption id="attachment_15189" align="alignnone" width="960"]
VIRIN: 171020-N-ZY182-5189
Photograph of the first Chief Petty Officers of the Seabees at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, January 1942. In October 1941, the first Chief Petty Officers were reassigned from the fleet into the newly created Headquarters Construction Companies, the predecessor to the Construction Battalions. After December 7, 1941, these units were merged into the First Naval Construction Battalion which left the states for Bora Bora on January 27, 1942.

October 20

1945: The 30th Special NCB was inactivated at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Davisville, Rhode Island. Men eligible for discharge were sent to discharge centers. The ineligibles were shipped to Port Hueneme, California for further assignment. 30th Special NCB inactivated at Davisville, Rhode Island. 1970: NMCB 5 main body departed Vietnam for CBC Port Hueneme, California.

October 21

1943: 138th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

October 22

1942: 35th NCB commissioned at Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island. 1967: Main body of NMCB 40 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for reassignment to the 30th NCR for duty at Chu Lai, RVN; NMCB 128 s main body deployed from CBC Gulfport, Mississippi to Camp Faulkner, Da Nang, East RVN in eight C-141 aircraft. 1968: NMCB 4 main body departed Camp Haines for Da Nang, RVN and from Da Nang to CBC, Port Hueneme, California. [caption id="attachment_17339" align="alignnone" width="712"]
Photo By: MCC Michael B. Watkins
VIRIN: 181022-N-ZY182-7339
2010: Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 ran for cover to nearby bunkers at the sound of a rocket attack during a concrete placement for a project site in Konduz, Aghanistan. NMCB-40 was working in various locations around the country in support of the International Security Assistance Force. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

October 23

1943: 130th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island. 1944: Advance Base Depot Receiving Barracks (Camp Thomas), Davisville was disestablished and facilities and functions of the barracks were transferred to NCTC Davisville. 1947: 109th NCB inactivated on Guam. 1966: Main body of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 58 departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN). 1967: The first Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer to be killed in Vietnam was Lt. Joseph J. Rhodes, a member of Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) 121. Rhodes was riding in a jeep that struck a land mine and he died from multiple shrapnel wounds. Two other occupants of the jeep, Chief Steelworker Gordon J. Dibble and Builder (Concrete) 3rd Class Jon R. Morbay, were also killed. A Seabee camp at Quang Tri, RVN was later dedicated in Rhodes memory. A plaque bearing the inscription, Camp Rhodes Dedicated in Honor of Lt Joseph John Rhodes, Killed in Action October 23, 1967 was unveiled by Rear Admiral A.C. Husband, then Chief of Civil Engineers. 1967: Main body of NMCB 133 departed RVN and returned to Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Gulfport, Mississippi; an NMCB 11 advance party of two officers, 27 enlisted personnel, and 1 dog (Seabee Team 1108 s mascot Colonel ) departed Dong Ha, RVN for return to the continental U. S. (CONUS). 1968: Cmdr. D.A. Bartley, commanding officer of NMCB 10, relieved Cmdr. R.M. Fluss, commanding officer of NMCB 4, as commanding officer of Camp Haines, RVN. 1969: Seabee Teams 0915 and 0916 were transferred to NMCB 10. 2009: Rear Adm. Richard E. Cellon, CEC, USN was relieved by Rear Adm. Mark A. Handley, CEC, USN as the commander, First Naval Construction Division (NCD), Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Virginia.

October 24

[caption id="attachment_17341" align="alignnone" width="665"]
VIRIN: 181022-N-ZY182-7341
1942: Armorers of the 34th Naval Construction Battalion worked to keep their weapons in first-class condition at all times on a Pacific island during World War II. The African American 34th Naval Construction Battalion was commissioned by Rear Admiral Lewis B. Combs at Camp Allen, Norfolk, VA. The 34th NCB was the first African American Seabee battalion in the Navy. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Seabee Museum) 1944: Tank mounted flame throwers became a productive weapon for routing Japanese soldiers out of caves and pillboxes during the Second World War. A composite group was set up to assist the Army s Chemical Warfare personnel in developing this weapon. Included in the group were an officer and 25 Seabees from the 117th NCB. After several demonstrations, the flame throwing tank proved to be generally satisfactory except for one technical detail, which the tankmen said was a distinct disadvantage. The Seabees set to work on a design for a functional modification of the weapon. Not only did the Seabee design eliminate the objectionable feature of the prior models, but it greatly reduced the number of moving parts. At its first demonstration on October 24, 1944, the new weapon was given enthusiastic approval by tankmen and chemical warfare officers. In addition to building these flame thrower tanks, Seabees also instructed tankmen how to operate them. The Seabee instructors assisted in making experts out of Army and Marine tankmen before the tanks went into action in such places at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Peleliu. 1944: 9th Naval Construction Brigade commissioned; 41st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) commissioned. 1945: 36th NCR inactivated. 1967: Cmdr. D.W. Wittschiebe, CEC, USN, commanding officer of NMCB 128, relieved Cmdr. E.H. Marsh, CEC, USN, commanding officer of NMCB 133, at camp Faulkner, Da Nang East, RVN; NMCB 128 main body arrived in Da Nang, RVN; NMCB 71 main body of 20 officers and 782 Seabees departed Chu Lai, RVN for Davisville, Rhode Island on nine C-141 aircraft; NMCB 40 main body arrived in Chu Lai, RVN.

October 25

1945: 6th NCB inactivated. 11th Special NCB inactivated at Okinawa. 1963: U.S. Naval Ship Missile Systems Engineering Station officially dedicated at CBC Port Hueneme, California. 1967: Main body of NMCB 71 arrived at Davisville, Rhode Island from Chu Lai, RVN.

October 26

1966: Capt. Greer A. Busbee, Jr., relieved Capt. Spencer R. Smith as commander, Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Battalions; NMCB 1 main body left Da Nang, RVN for Davisville, Rhode Island by C-141 aircraft via Japan and Alaska. 2012: Rear Adm. Katherine (Kate) L. Gregory assumed duties as commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and chief of Civil Engineers, the first woman in Navy history to hold either position.