An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

This Week in Seabee History: March 1- 7

March 1, 2020 | By ggranger

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

VIRIN: 170302-N-ZY182-3819

March 1

1943: 63rd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1945: 2nd NCR inactivated.

1946: 64th NCB inactivated on Samar, Philippines.

1956: Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 101 inactivated.

1968: Seabee Team 7101 graduated from Seabee Team Training and was assigned to Officer in Charge (OIC), Construction Battalions, Pacific Detachment, RVN, deploying to My Tho, RVN.

1968: NMCB 58 deployed to Hoi An and established a tent camp within the 2nd Republic of Korea (ROK) Marine Brigade Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR). Cmdr. W.W. DeGroot, III, CEC, USN, NMCB 58 s commander, established headquarters in the tent camp.

1968:  Cmdr. R.E. Fluss, CEC, USN, relieved Cmdr. W.W. DeGroot III, CEC, USN, as commanding officer of NMCB 58 at Camp Haskins North, RVN.

March 2

1867: By an act of Congress, it was provided that civil engineers should be appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate.  Previously, all civil engineers in the Navy were civilian employees. This is considered the birthday for the establishment of the Civil Engineer Corps.

1943: 6th Special NCB formed at Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia.

1969: NMCB 8 advance party arrived at Camp Haskins South, RVN.

March 3

1867: William P.S. Sanger is commissioned as an officer and Chief Civil Engineer of the Navy.

1871: An act of Congress gave the Navy s civil engineers, at the President s discretion, eligibility for relative officer rank and equal precedence with officers of the line.

1899: In an amendment to the act passed on this date, Congress abolished relative rank for the members of the Navy s staff corps granting them regular rank without changing their titles.

1962: The Seabee-installed and serviced PM-3A nuclear power plant at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica went critical. In July the plant began delivering electric power to the McMurdo station thus relieving that station of the dependence on fuel oil shipments and at the same time alleviating the fire hazard caused by the use of oil-burning devices.

1969: The main body of NMCB 53 departed Davisville for Da Nang, RVN.

March 4

1911: All Navy public works construction was placed under the Bureau of Yards and Docks by an act of Congress.

1967: NMCB 71 s advance party consisting of 7 officers and 102 enlisted men was airlifted on two C-141 aircraft from Davisville, Rhode Island, to Chu Lai, RVN.

1970: Rear Adm. J. G. Dillon, CEC, USN, was relieved by Rear Adm. A.R. Marschall, CEC, USN, as commander of the 3rd Brigade.

The formation of the Seabees before March 5

On December 28, 1941,  Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks (BUDOCKS), requested specific authority to activate, organize, and man a unique, very special organization that would support the Navy and Marines in remote locations and defend themselves if attacked the Naval Construction Battalions. On January 5, 1942,  he was given that authority and the original Battalions were formed at a new Naval base in Davisville, Rhode Island.

The first naval construction unit to actually deploy from the United States left Davisville, Rhode Island, less than two weeks later on January 17, 1942. It was designated the First Construction Detachment. The 296 men arrived at Bora Bora on February 17, 1942.

On March 5, all Construction Battalion personnel were officially named Seabees by the Navy Department. Admiral Moreell personally furnished them with their motto Construmus Batumius, or We Build, We Fight. A logo, the Fighting Bee, was created by a Rhode Islander at Davisville.

March 5

1942: The designation of construction battalions as Seabees and the use of the distinctive insignia on major items of construction equipment were officially approved by Rear Adm. Ben Moreell.

1955: It was in 1955 that the Seabees first celebrated their birthday on March 5. Before that the birthday had been celebrated on December 28, the date in 1941 that authority was requested from the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation to recruit enlisted personnel for the Seabee units. However, because so many men were usually on leave for the Christmas holidays and because of the heavy financial strain that attended the holidays, it was almost impossible for everyone to participate in a suitable celebration. Therefore, Rear Adm. John R. Perry, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, decided to change the celebration date to March 5, the date the personnel of the construction battalions were granted official permission to assume the name Seabees. Rear Adm. Perry felt this would assure a more favorable observance of the birthday.

1961: Reserve Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (NMCB) 12 and 22 activated.

1968: NMCB 6 officers and men celebrated the 101st birthday of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) and the 26th of the Seabees with the cutting of a 1,300 pound birthday cake, measuring four feet by eight feet by two feet.

1969: Rear Adm. G. Dillon, CEC, U.S. Navy (USN), relieved Rear Adm. J.V. Bartlett, CEC, USN, as Commander, Third Naval Construction Brigade.

March 6

1947: 104th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) reactivated, eventually being reestablished in October 1950 as Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1.

1968: Cmdr. Paul R. Gates, CEC, USN, relieved Cmdr. Anson C. Perkins, CEC, USN, as commander of the 21st Naval Construction Regiment (NCR).

1970: Seabee Teams 0103 and 0104 departed Vietnam for Davisville, Rhode Island.

1971: NMCB 3 Detail Borealis at Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam (RVN), received eight rockets and heavy small arms fire. BU2 F.D. Lupo, USN, was killed inaction and four other Seabees were wounded.

March 7

1967: EOC J.C. Haines, CET3, L.R. Riddle, and CMH3 R.E. Kasper, NMCB 4, were killed in action in a mine explosion on the road from An Hoa to Da Nang, RVN.