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This Week in Seabee History (October 11 - 17)

Oct. 11, 2020 | By ggranger

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

VIRIN: 161013-N-ZY182-3543

October 11

1968: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 121 relieved NMCB 8 at Camp Wilkinson.

1970: Seabee Team 4003 returned from Truk Lagoon, for reassignment to NMCB 40.

Photo By: Seaman Kenneth Johnson
VIRIN: 181009-N-ZY182-7300

October 12

1943: 132nd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) formed at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1970: The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) authorized establishment of an underwater facility construction capability within the Naval Construction Force for purposes of engineering, construction and repair of underwater facilities; unofficial names of UCT 1 and UCT 2.

October 13

1942: Chief Machinist Mate Henry L. Thompson, 6th NCB, was the first Seabee killed in action. He died during a Japanese naval bombardment of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. Thompson and five other Seabees were huddled in a deep dugout to avoid the huge 14-inch armor-piercing naval shells that the Japanese naval task force hurled into the Seabee camp area. One shell landed directly in the hole. The concussion collapsed the sides of the hole, burying the six men. Two Seabees, bravely disregarding their own safety, dug the six men out of the dirt-filled hole. Though the other five men survived, Thompson was found dead, sitting upright in the bottom of the dugout. It was believed that he died from the concussion as much as from suffocation. The two men who dug out the men, Shipfitter 1st Class H.L. Osborn and Shipfitter 1st Class D.L. Gillis, received the Silver Star for their actions.

1966: Cmdr. E.J. Williams, Jr., CEC, USN, commanding officer of NMCB 5 assumed command of Camp Adenir, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

1969: Main body of Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 201 deployed from Davisville, Rhode Island for assignment to Commander, Antarctic Support Activities for duty at Antarctica.

1969: Seabee Teams 4005 and 4006 were assigned to the 21st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) as alert Seabee Teams for 11 weeks of specialized training.

1974: Reserve battalion Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 17 dedicated its permanent drill site at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Port Hueneme, California. The drill site was dedicated in memory of Construction Mechanic 2nd Class James W. Lynch and Builder 2nd Class William A. Fulton. These men died of natural causes while members of NMCB 17.

October 15

1943: 103rd NCB formed at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: 77th NCB inactivated at Sangley Point, Philippines; 92nd, 107th and 110th NCBs inactivated on Tinian; 13th Special NCB inactivated at Guam.

1964: The main body of NMCB 3 departed Port Hueneme, California, on the USNS Patrick for Guam.

1965: U.S. Naval Support Activity, Da Nang, was established in the RVN under Commander, Service Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Employing about 3,500 naval personnel, the organization was designed to provide logistic support for U.S. and allied units in Vietnam.

1966: CBU 201 departed Davisville, Rhode Island, for Antarctica in support of Antarctic Research Program.

1969: Seabee Team 7103 deployed to Vietnam for assignment to Officer in Charge, Construction Battalions Pacific for duty at Phu Vinh, RVN.

1971: 21st NCR moved into new headquarters building, located in Davisville, Rhode Island.

October 16

1967: A critical need developed in the fall of 1967 for an air and helicopter station in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam (RVN). The station was needed to counteract a threatened monsoon offensive by North Vietnamese soldiers. The Naval Construction Force responded to the threat by forming a construction battalion comprised of Seabee detachments representing nine different Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (NMCB) working in Southeast Asia. Work proceeded on the airstrip despite the hindrance of heavy rains and occasional mortar fire. The field was officially opened on Oct. 16.

October 17

1945: 31st and 43rd Naval Construction Regiments (NCR) inactivated; 70th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) inactivated on Guam; 123rd NCB inactivated at Samar, Philippines.

1966: NMCB 5 main body completed movement to Camp Adenir.

1967: Seabee Teams 0512, 0808 and 0911 graduated during ceremonies at the Civil Engineer Corps Officer School (CECOS) auditorium, Construction Battalion Center (CBC) Port Hueneme, California, after 13 weeks of training by the 31st NCR.