This Week in Seabee History: August 29

August 29

1969: Seabee 0314 team traveled to Guam, Mariana Islands, for orientation.

2005: Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast. Over 3,000 Seabee from NMCB 18, 40, 133, Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202, Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2 and Mobile Utility Support Equipment Technicians (MUSE) participated in the clean-up operations.

2013: Capt John Adametz, Civil Engineer Corps (CEC), relieved Captain Darius Banaji, CEC, as Commanding Officer, Naval Construction Group (NCG) 2 during a ceremony at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Mississippi.

August 30

1954: In Korea, the Seabees of CBMU 101 are given the task of replacing a 22-foot bridge. The bridge was an ancient Korean structure of hand-driven logs and piles that was rapidly deteriorating. This created a dangerous situation for heavily loaded military vehicles. The problem encountered by the Seabees was to remove the old bridge as quickly as possible and replace it with a structure capable of supporting loads of up to 30 tons. The Seabees, using heavy I-beams and wooden beams, fitted out and completely prefabricated the new bridge. All the material has been pre-cut and pre-drilled. The structure has been assembled and each part has been marked. The Seabees then dismantled the bridge and loaded the parts in order onto a low bed trailer. At seven in the morning on August 30, 1954, all equipment was moved in order to the old bridge. The rain fell in the form of downpours throughout the day. At four in the afternoon, however, the old bridge was removed, the approaches broken, the I-beams laid, the concrete abutments poured, the cross beams bolted, the studded decking, and the approaches filled and leveled. The road was reopened to traffic that evening.
1967: During a Viet Cong mortar attack on the Phu Bai combat base, the battalion camp (NMCB 3) is hit by a 105mm howitzer from friendly artillery. The bullet hit the enlisted docking area, killing Construction Mechanic 1st Class JW Wilkinson and Yeoman 3rd Class DC Coker, and injuring nineteen others.
1967: The NMCB 5 pre-deployment team arrives at Camp Barnes for a five-day visit with the NMCB 11.
1969: Seabee Team 0313 deployed to Cao Lanh, RVN via government aircraft.
1970: The precursor group of NMCB 1 leaves CONUS by air for Camp Moscrip, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
1971: CBU 415 established at NAS Oceana, Virginia.

August 31

1842: The Bureau of Yards and Docks is created, one of five offices created as part of the reorganization of the US Navy. Captain Lewis Warrington, an expiring senior member of the Board of Naval Commissioners, has been appointed the first chief of the board. William PS Sanger, appointed Commission Civil Engineer in 1836, was transferred to become the Bureau’s first staff civil engineer. The new office was given responsibility for the shipyards, then numbering seven.
1944: The 3rd NCB is inactivated (dismantled on July 12, 1944).
1970: NMCB 7 is discontinued as an active unit of the Naval Construction Force (NCF) in Davisville, Rhode Island; NMCB 121 was decommissioned at Gulfport, Mississippi.

September 1st

1942: Officers and men of the 6th NCB land at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. They were the first Seabees to land on an island held by the enemy during World War II and the first to engage the enemy in combat. The 6th Seabees tackled their most important task: repairing the airstrip then named Henderson Field. It was endless work, because as quickly as the builders leveled the strip and laid the Marston mats, the Japanese were sending bombers overhead to drop explosive bombs on the strip. As the fighting around the island intensified, the Seabees developed a system to repair the damaged airstrip within minutes. Less than 40 minutes after the Japanese bombers plunged and strafed the terrain, the Seabees, waiting with already loaded trucks, rushed down the runway and completely filled the bomb holes. Several times the Seabees worked hard to mend the ground as crippled US Navy interceptors circled overhead as they waited to land. Several times while dodging bullets, the Seabees worked at one end of the field making repairs as the Japanese infantry fought with the defenders of the US Marines at the other end. On several occasions, the Seabees fought alongside the US Marines in hand-to-hand combat against Japanese troops.
1943: The 1st Naval Construction Regiment (RCN) is inactivated.
1944: establishment of the Port Directors School in Davisville, Rhode Island; it was abandoned on December 31, 1944.
1965: Captain Nelson Anderson, CEC, relieves Captain Harold Liberty, CEC, as commander of the 30th RCN.
1969: The first reserve shipbuilding brigade is established under the command of Rear Admiral George Reider, CEC.
1969: Seabee 0705 and 0706 teams are deployed in the RVN to be assigned to the Officer in Charge of the Pacific Construction Battalions (CBPAC) for service at Thu Duc and Lai Thieu.

September 2

1942: The 22nd NCB is commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia.
1943: The 128th NCB is activated at NCTC Camp Peary, Magruder, Virginia; The 131st NCB was commissioned at NCTC Camp Peary.
1968: Lt. Cmdr. HW Filbry, CEC, relieved Lt. Cmdr. Mr. H. Harper, CEC, as the Commanding Officer of CBMU 302. CBMU 302 received the Navy Unit Commendation at the Change of Command Ceremony for the period ending January 1, 1968.
1969: Typhoon Doris severely damaged the Quang Tri camp of Mobile Shipbuilding Battalion 74 and various other camps and civilian communities in the Republic of Vietnam. A whim of fate, some would say, because half of the main body of the battalion was still at the home port of Gulfport, Mississippi, when the Gulf Coast was hit by Hurricane Camille on August 19, 1969. After Camille, this half joined the other already in Vietnam just in time to encounter Typhoon Doris. For example, nearly half of the Battalion’s Seabees suffered two severe tropical storms within two weeks, each from a different side of the world.

September 3

1967: In Dong Ha, RVN, eight kilometers south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a combined rocket attack by the Vietnamese Army Viet CongNorth detonated 20,000 tons of ammunition and 40,000 gallons of fuel. air force near Camp NMCB 11. Explosions rocked the base for eight hours, the largest ammunition disaster in recorded history. Miraculously, no Americans or South Vietnamese were killed.

September 4

1942: 23rd Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia. 24th NCB fielded at Camp Bradford, Norfolk, Virginia.
1943: Camp Lee-Stephenson established in Eastport (Quoddy Village), Maine.
2009: Captain Allen M. Stratman, CEC, relieves Captain Jeffrey T. Borowy, CEC, as commanding officer of the 25th Naval Construction Regiment (RCN), at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC), Gulfport, Mississippi.

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