This Week in Seabee History: August 22

Operation “Desert Shield / Desert Storm” – On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi armed forces began the invasion and then the conquest of the Emirate of Kuwait. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the United States and other member countries responded by deploying military forces to Saudi Arabia. The immediate objective was to prevent further Iraqi aggression; the long-term goal was to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. The initial military commitment of the Allies to protect Saudi Arabia has been dubbed Operation “Desert Shield”.

Among the US forces deployed in the region was the First Marine Expeditionary Force. Seabees was to provide support for the building of this force. On August 7, the Seabees began preparations to deploy four battalions to the area: Mobile Shipbuilding Battalions 4, 5, 7 and 40. On August 13, the first Seabees arrived in Saudi Arabia, part of the battalion of amphibious construction 1, comprising 210 people. . These men immediately got to work offloading Marine Corps equipment and supplies from the Marine Preset Force ships.

During the period August 10-20, 100 Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 departed Norfolk, Va., Aboard amphibious ships bound for the Persian Gulf. While in the Gulf, these Seabees participated in numerous exercises with the Marines to prepare for an amphibious assault in the area.

The second wave of Seabee to arrive was made up of members of the Construction Battalion from Units 411 and 415; they built and maintained Fleet Hospital Five, a 500-bed hospital in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Both units had female officers in charge, marking a first for the Seabees.

22 august

1951: The 7th Mobile Naval Construction Battalion (NMCB) is commissioned at the Construction Battalion Center (CBC) Davisville, Rhode Island.

1954: The French Colonial Forces are defeated at Dien Bien Phu in French Indochina, May 7, 1954. In accordance with the Geneva Convention of July 21, 1954, Indochina becomes a number of sovereign states: Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Additionally, Vietnam has been split in two, creating North and South Vietnam, at roughly the 17th parallel. The truce agreement stated that residents of the two Vietnams should be allowed to reside in any country of their choice, and the United States was urged to provide transportation for the planned mass migration from communist northern Vietnam to southern Vietnam free. The US Navy was tasked with transporting the migrants, and Seabees of Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 was tasked with installing and operating floating bridges if necessary and constructing camps for the refugees. However, when the amphibious Seabees arrived in Haiphong on August 22, 1954, they learned that the truce agreement signed in July prohibited the landing of foreign military units in Vietnam. Thus, the Seabees were prevented from operating until all military badges were removed from uniforms and equipment; some even put on some sort of clothes. Then they returned to their tasks. The Seabees not only helped to displace several hundred thousand Vietnamese and their belongings, but also built camps which contributed to the comfort of the refugees. While aiding the Vietnamese in their massive migration, the Seabees helped French troops evacuate the country and built a recreation center in the south for personnel from the U.S. 7th Fleet engaged in the operation. The ACB 1 Seabees who participated in Operation Passage to Freedom were congratulated by the Task Force Commander.

1967: The forward detachment of NMCB 4, commanded by Lieutenant RB Thatcher, of the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) leaves Camp Hoover for the continental United States (CONUS).

25 august

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2009: Groundbreaking ceremonies are held at the Ventura County Naval Base, Port Hueneme, Calif., For the construction of the US Navy’s new Seabee Museum to replace the old facility opened in 1956.

August 26

1943: 105th NCB formed at Camp Peary Shipbuilding Training Center (NCTC), Magruder, Virginia.

1944: 302nd NCB formed in Maui, Hawaii.

1967: Captain. JM Hill, CEC, relieved Cmdr. RL Foley, CEC, as commanding officer of the 32nd Naval Construction Regiment (RCN).

1968: Seabee William Darrah, State Department Naval Support Unit, received high praise for his heroic efforts to put out what could have been a major fire at the United States Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Due to a curfew, local firefighters were not available. In response, Embassy staff, US news correspondents, and private US citizens formed a bucket brigade and were successful in controlling and extinguishing the blaze. The US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia said: “There is general agreement that the person who deserves the highest praise is Seabee William B. Darrah, who knew his job well and showed great personal courage.

August 27

1965: NMCB 8 transferred to Commander, US Fleet Naval Construction Battalions, Pacific (COMCBPAC), Commander, Naval Construction Battalions, US Fleet Atlantic (COMCBLANT).

1970: Seabee 0106 and 0107 teams leave Davisville, Rhode Island for reassignment to OIC Construction Battalions, US Pacific Fleet Detachment (CBPACDET), RVN, and deployment to Ham Tan and Tan An, respectively.

1971: Submarine Construction Team (UCT) 1 returns from US Navy Ammunition Depot, Earle, Colts Neck, New Jersey.

2010: Captain. Joe Grealish, CCE, relieved Capt.Paul Webb, CCE, as the commanding officer of PBR 2, at Joint Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va.

August 28

1942: The 21st Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) is commissioned at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.

1943: The 117th NCB is commissioned at the Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Camp Peary, in Magruder, Virginia.

1967: At 6:08 am, the Dong Ha combat base in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) is subjected to an enemy rocket attack. Three of the rockets landed in Seabee’s cantonment, Camp Barnes. One of the rockets directly hit a C Company mooring hut. As a result of this direct hit, four men were killed: Builder (Concrete) 2nd Class Jerry L. Newman, Builder (Concrete) Constructionman Jerome D Patterson, Builder (Concrete) Constructionman Anthony K. Grasso, and Builder (Heavy) Construction Apprentice Richard J. Pari. Between August 28 and September 25, 1967, the Seabee camp at Dong Ha Combat Base was the target of enemy artillery and rocket attacks 47 times over 13 different days. All of the attacks took place between 4 a.m. and 8 p.m., the majority of which occurred during the day. As a result of these daytime attacks, construction work was significantly hampered and occasionally came to a halt as the Seabees sought shelter.

1967: A man from Mobile Naval Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 is killed by an enemy sniper on Highway 1.


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