The United States Navy Seabees are a dynamic group of personnel who serve a pivotal role in the force. Their simplistic mantra of ‘We build, we Fight’ virtually gives away what they do. Their official title is the United States Naval Construction Forces (NCF). In essence, they are a construction battalion (CB) and this is where the word ‘Seabees’ was derived from. They are the builders and their history is riveting to say the least. Among others, they have built bases and cleared spaces for roads and airstrips. With a long list of accomplishments; since they were conceived in December 1941, this article delves deeper into their history and what they do.
Insight into The Navy Seabees
The man behind the formation of the Seabees was Rear Admiral Ben Moreell. He first set his sight on constructing storm clouds in the oceans. It is the attack on Pearl Harbor that saw him get the go ahead to establish this vital battalion. The first base for training the Seabees was set up in June, 1942 and it was The Davisville Advanced Base Depot. In August 11, 1942, the training center admitted trainees and over 100,000 personnel were trained for World War II. The recruitment of the early Seabees was mainly based on skill rather than their physical prowess in war. In this regard, civilians from the construction trade at the time were recruited and placed under the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps. In light of this, the average age of a Seabee at that time was 37.
Navy Seabees Rings
During World War II, the work of the Seabees was cut out. Over 300,000 personnel were responsible for building on six continents and over 270 islands. A lot of work was necessary in the Pacific and among others, they built, bridges, roads, hospitals, warehouses, storage tanks and even residential houses. In the early 1950s, the war had taken a toll and the Construction Battalion had to downscale their operations. To this end, there were only 3,300 men active on duty by 1950. Going forward, the Seabees saw a reorganization that divided them into two types by 1953. There were the Amphibious Construction Battalions and the Naval Mobile Construction Battalions. Seabee navy rings among other memorabilia capture their rich history.
Navy Seabees Motto
The Seabees have participated in numerous goodwill operations to help those who are in need. To begin with, their skill helped those who were devastated by the 1953 Greek earthquake. Among other duties, they constructed orphanages and public utilities for those in need. In a way, they became the Navy’s Goodwill Ambassadors’ all over the world. This battalion has also built strategic bases for the United States Navy and their allies. In 1971, they built a complex on Diego Garcia, a small land mass in the Indian Ocean. This project took 11 years and become a huge base that accommodates large naval ships and military cargo jets. This base proved very helpful when
Kuwait was attacked by Iraq. In 1990, operations ‘desert storm’ and ‘desert shield’ were launched to this effect. The Seabees have over 60 years of service; staying true to their drive of building and fighting. In both peace and war, they are dedicated to service and no matter the challenge, their motto ‘Can Do!’ resounds.