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This Week in Seabee History: February 12-18

Feb. 20, 2024 | By MC1 Adam Brock

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

February 12

1951: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 activated.

1966: An NMCB 1 advance party of one officer and 100 enlisted men departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN).

1968: The NMCB 4 main body deployed from Port Hueneme, California to Phu Bai, RVN. The battalion deployed to Vietnam seven weeks before the schedule deployment date.

1971: Cmdr. Don P. Johnson, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), commanding officer of NMCB 10, assumed from Cmdr. J.A. Ruscyk, CEC, commanding officer of NMCB 4 tenancy of Camp Shields and the status of Pacific Fleet Alert Battalion.

February 13

1943: 81st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: Chief of Naval Operations Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King approved the retention of construction battalions as a permanent and integral part of the postwar Navy. When originally established in the Second World War, the Seabee organization was meant to be only a wartime expedient.

1967: NMCB 4 began survey work on the Liberty Bridge project, Da Nang, RVN.

1969: NMCB 3 advance party returned to the continental United States (CONUS) via government aircraft.

February 14

1946: 86th NCB inactivated on Okinawa.

1966: NMCB 1 advance party arrived in Da Nang, RVN.

1968: Cmdr. D.N. Shockey, CEC, was relieved as commanding officer of NMCB 9 by Cmdr. J.A. Wright, CEC, at a formal change of command ceremony held at Camp Hoover, Da Nang, RVN.

1968: NMCB 4 arrived at Da Nang, RVN.

February 15

1943: 6th Naval Construction regiment (NCR) commissioned.

1944: 24th NCR established.

1974: Underwater Construction Teams (UCT) 1 and 2 commissioned with Officers in Charge.

February 16

1942: The start of the Second World War sent naval survey teams up and down the Pacific coast looking for new locations for naval facilities. One team was looking for a site to build a naval base to support naval construction activities at advanced bases in the Pacific. The team came to Port Hueneme, California and recognized it as an ideal port, because it was the only Pacific deep water port between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Word of the discovery was sent to Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, who was busily putting together the new construction battalions. Port Hueneme therefore was tentatively selected as the site for the advanced base depot on the Pacific coast. On February 16, 1942, Admiral Moreell sent his recommendations to the Chief of Naval Operations and it was speedily approved.

1968: Seabee Team 5801 moved into their quarters at Chau Phu City, Chau Doc Province, RVN, a massive fort built by the French in 1882, serving as both living quarters and shop facilities.

February 17

1942: The first Seabee unit organized to build advanced base facilities overseas arrived at Bora Bora in the Society Islands to construct a fuel depot. These Seabees were called the Bobcats because the code name for Bora Bora was Bobcat.

1945: 4th Naval Construction Brigade (NCB) inactivated.

1969: Seabee Teams 0103 and 0104 were assigned to the 21st NCR for 18 weeks of specialized training.

February 18

1968: Seabee Teams 0701 and 0702 arrived in Davisville, Rhode Island, from Vietnam for reassignment to NMCB 7.