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This Week in Seabee History: May 26 - June 1

May 28, 2019 | By ggranger
Consolidated by Dr. Frank A. Blazich Jr., Historian, Naval History and Heritage Command [caption id="attachment_13943" align="alignnone" width="640"]
VIRIN: 170526-N-ZY182-3943
In 1963, Seabee Teams were sent to Thailand to assist in the Royal Thai Government's Accelerated Rural Development Program. In the northern provinces these diversified units taught and advised local Thais in an effort to help them form the cadre of essential rural public works organizations. Three years of diligent work in this region was finally concluded in May 1966. In this photograph, circa 1966, Seabees are installing a water well. (Photo by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)  

May 26

1943: 92nd NCB formed at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia. 1965: The first section NMCB 3 main body arrived in RVN aboard the USS Port Defiance from Guam. 1967: Seabee Team 0309 departed CONUS for duty in Vietnam. 1970: Cmdr. R.D. Gaulden, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 4, relieved Cmdr. J.L. Godsey, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 3, as Commander of the 30th NCR. Also, NMCB 4 assumed responsibilities as U.S. Pacific Fleet Alert Battalion. 1965: NMCB 3 landed at Da Nang, RVN, to commence construction of the large military complex at Da Nang and Da Nang East. In the next four months, NMCBs 5, 8 and 9 joined NMCB 3 in the construction of cantonments, roads, piers, and storage buildings and yards.

May 27

1942: U.S. Marines and Seabees occupy Wallis Island, South Pacific Ocean. 1961: Detachment Kilo of NMCB 14 arrived in Holy Loch, Scotland. The Seabees had come for the purpose of erecting a floating dry dock, capable of docking Polaris submarines. A floating dry dock had not been erected since the end of World War II. The dry dock to be installed at Holy Loch was of World War II-vintage and had been kept in mothballs since the war. When it was decided that an overseas repair facility for Polaris submarines was a strategic necessity, the dock was reactivated and towed from Green Cove Springs, Florida, to Holy Loch, Scotland. To complete the dry dock, the Seabees major tasks consisted of placing 22 mooring legs weighing approximately 1,000 tons each, jacking eight wing-wall structures weighing 450 tons each to a vertical position, erecting more than 825 feet of steel structure to support cranes weighing 240 tons, and welding four dock sections. In addition, Seabees installed electrical, plumbing and interior communication systems. Other projects included erecting living and office spaces, and painting the exterior and interior of the dry dock. 1968: NMCB 5 s Advance Party, comprised of one officer in charge and 16 enlisted personnel departed Camp Barnes to Da Nang, RVN and returned to CBC, Port Hueneme, California, with NMCB 9 s main flights on 30 May 1968. 1971: Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1 returned from Keflavik, Iceland. 1974: On Memorial Day 1974, the Seabee Memorial Monument was dedicated. The monument is located on Memorial Drive leading to the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. It depicts the Seabee as builder, fighter and ambassador of good will. The larger-than-life-size figure of a Seabee on the monument stands in front of a semicircular bronze bas-relief on which is portrayed a panorama of Seabees in their various construction trades.

May 28

1944: 32nd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) disbanded at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California. 1963: The first Seabee Team to Thailand, 0902, deployed to commence the joint Seabee civic action program. Between May 1963 and December 1965, 10 Seabee Teams trained students and built roads, dams and other community projects in seven provinces in northern and northeastern Thailand. 1967: Capt. A.R. Marschall, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), commander of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR), presented the Peltier Award for 1966 to the commanding officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1.

May 29

1968: NMCB 9 main body returned to the continental United States (CONUS) on three super DC-8 passenger aircraft and two cargo/passenger aircraft. All flights terminated at Naval Air Station (NAS) Point Mugu, California, except one Super DC-8 aircraft which landed at Los Angeles International Airport (concluded 3 June). 1968: Cmdr. T.J. Mitchell, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 1, relieved Cmdr. J.W. Wright, CEC, commanding officer, NMCB 9, at Camp Hoover, Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN). May 29-June 3, 1968: NMCB 9 main body, consisting of 22 officers and 648 enlisted men, returned to CONUS via three Super DC-8 passenger aircraft and two C-141 cargo/passenger aircraft. All flights terminated at NAS Point Mugu, California, except for one Super DC-8 aircraft which landed at Los Angeles International Airport. 1968: NMCB 1 s main body deployed via three DC-8 and two C-141 aircraft from Davisville, Rhode Island, to Da Nang, RVN. 2015: Capt. Maria Lore Aguayo, CEC, relieved Capt. Stephen Revelas, CEC, as commander, 22nd NCR during a change of command ceremony at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Mississippi. 1969: An edition of the Davisville Yardarm featured a Memorial Day tribute to "recall to memory these Seabees who died in the service of their country in Vietnam to remind ourselves of the great debt we owe them."
VIRIN: 180530-N-ZY182-6599

May 30

1943: ACORN 8 arrived at Noumea. Later moved to Guadalcanal, Munda and Russells for restaging and then on to Biak. (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 initial construction was completed and the construction battalion had been withdrawn. During the war, ACORNs were sent to such places as Guadalcanal, Espiritu Santo, Green Island, Rendova, Treasury Island and Majuro.) 1944: The versatile match of Seabee and bulldozer is an image which will never be forgotten by citizens of Falmouth, England. When a German air strike exploded a fuel dump and sent a river of flaming gasoline flowing downhill toward the town, Seabee Philip Bishop, NMCB 81, quickly bulldozed a dam which stopped the channel of fire and saved the community from destruction. The bulldozer-fireman received the British Empire Medal (Military) and the enduring gratitude of an English seaport town. 1944: 26th NCR commissioned. 1945: ACORN 8 decommissioned. 1965: The second section of the main body of NMCB 3 arrived in Vietnam aboard the USS Belle Grove from Guam. May 30-June 4, 1967: NMCB 7 main body consisting of 15 officers and 599 enlisted men was airlifted from Davisville, Rhode Island, to Da Nang, RVN, aboard seven C-141 aircraft provided by Military Airlift Command. 1972: The Vietnam Detachment of the Commander, Naval Construction Battalions, United States Pacific Fleet was disestablished at Port Hueneme, California. The detachment exercised operational, administrative, troops and technical control over all Seabee Teams employed in Vietnam. The last Seabee Team site in Vietnam was closed in April 1972, and the RVN detachment was transferred to the 31st NCR at Port Hueneme for dissolution.

May 31

May 31-June 4, 1942: 10th NCB commissioned at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia. 1943: Construction Battalion Maintenance Units (CBMUs) 509, 510 and 511 commissioned. 7th and 8th NCR commissioned. Construction Battalion Detachment (CBD) 1004 inactivated. CBDs 1007, 1008 and 1021 commissioned. 1944: ACORN 7 arrived at Emirau. CBMUs 591 and 603 commissioned. CBMUs 516 and 526 inactivated. 1st Naval Construction Brigade inactivated. 5th Naval Construction Brigade commissioned. 27th, 28th, 29th NCRs commissioned. 29th Special NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia. CBD 1025 inactivated. 1945: ACORN 13 arrived at Samar. ACORN 45 arrived at Sangley Point, Manila. 148th NCB commissioned at NCTC Camp Endicott, Davisville, Rhode Island. CBDs 1086 and 1090 commissioned. 1946: CBMUs 503, 607, 616 and 634 inactivated. 34th NCR inactivated. CBD 1085 inactivated. CBDs 1151, 1154, 1157, 1158 and 1159 commissioned. 1946: 48th NCR inactivated. 1947: CBMU 630 inactivated. CBDs 1156 and 1158 inactivated. CBD 1512 activated. 1952: CBD 1523 inactivated. 1965: 30th NCR reactivated. 1967: NMCB 5 main body moved from Vietnam to CBC, Port Hueneme, California. 1968: NMCB 40 s advance party of one officer and 27 enlisted men departed RVN aboard a military Airlift Command Aircraft C-141 for return to Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Davisville, Rhode Island. 1968: Cmdr C.J. Mathews, CEC, relieved Cmdr. W.W. DeGroot III, CEC, as commanding officer of NMCB 58 at change of command ceremonies held at the 2nd Republic of Korea (ROK) Marine Brigade drill field, Hoi An, RVN. 1971: Cmdr. Robert A. Schade Jr. was relieved as commanding officer, NMCB 5, by Cmdr. Robert J. McHugh Jr., CEC.

June 1

1944: 11th NCR inactivated. 1945: 114th NCB inactivated at Attu and reconstituted as CBD 1161. 134th NCB activated in the field at Guam. 1946: 140th NCB inactivated at Manus. 1965: At Chu Lai, RVN, NMCB 10 constructed a 4,000-foot aluminum plank Short Airfield for Tactical Support (SATS) for Marine Air Group 12. The first eight A-4s landed at the field on June 1, with the first air strikes launched hours later in the day. 1966: The 3rd Naval Construction Brigade, which gained renown in the Southwest Pacific area during World War II, was reestablished in Saigon, RVN, to exercise operational control over the NCRs and other directly assigned Naval Construction Force units. The brigade was commanded by Rear Adm. Robert R. Wooding, CEC. 1966: Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) 201 was commissioned at Davisville, Rhode Island, and assigned to the 21st NCR. CBU 201 would later serve in repeated deployments to the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. 1968: Seabee Teams 0101 and 0102 graduated from Seabee Team Training and were assigned to Officer in Charge, Construction Battalions, Pacific Detachment, RVN, deploying to Cha Phu and Phu Vinh, respectively. 1968: Seabee Teams 0601, 0602 and 4001 arrived in Davisville, Rhode Island, from RVN for reassignment to their respective mobile construction battalions. 1969: Seabee Team 7102 deployed to RVN for assignment to Officer in Charge, Construction Battalions, Pacific Detachment for duty at Phan Rang. 2010: Capt. Katherine L. Gregory, CEC, promoted to Rear Admiral (RDML), becoming the first female CEC flag officer.

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