On this date in 1942, United States Navy Construction Battalions were given a new name and a new logo – so today, the RedState Department of History wishes a happy 75th birthday to the Seabees.
The official emblem of the Seabees. (Public Domain)
The brainchild of Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, who was chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Docks and Yards, the Seabees owe their existence to his request to organize, activate and staff Navy construction units. Known as “King Bee”, Moreell received the permission he sought, and the organization he created is now legendary.
Known for their skills in construction and demolition, the Seabees earned their fame in World War II for truly stupendous feats of engineering to help support the “island hopping” campaign in the Pacific. That said, Seabees worked on six continents in World War II as well as over 300 islands.
Their motto of “Construimus, Batuimus” — Latin for “We Build, We Fight” — served them well. Often working in close cooperation with the Marine Corps, in the Pacific alone they they built 111 airstrips, 441 piers, tanks for the storage of 100 million gallons of fuel, housing for 1.5 million men and hospitals for 70,000 patients. Seabees were perhaps unique in the war in that, because their jobs involved professional skill rather than youthful vigor, the average age of a World War II Seabee was 37.
Of course, as anyone who has served in the Navy knows well, the Seabees’ legacy continues to the present day. In Korea, they landed at Inchon with the troops to create causeways and also built the amazing project at Cubi Point. They cut a mountain in half to make way for a tw0-mile long airstrip plus a pier that could house the Navy’s largest carriers. The project ranks alongside the Panama Canal as one of the greatest earth-moving projects in history.
Since 1955, Seabees have been actively involved in the nation’s defense, having built the Distant Early Warning Line in the Arctic. They’ve also had one of their own — Construction Mechanic Third Class Marvin Shields — earn the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam.
For more information on the Seabees:
Ten Things You Need To Know About Your Seabees – The Sextant
U.S. Navy Seabees – Building and Fighting Since 1942 – YouTube
Happy Sunday to all and enjoy today’s Open Thread!