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Occupation of Nukufetu Atoll/ Motolalo Island, 27 August 1943

Occupation of Nukufetu Atoll/ Motolalo Island, 27 August 1943

Occupation of Nukufetu Atoll/ Motolalo Island, 27 August 1943

The occupation of Nukufetu Atoll and Motolalo Island (27 August 1943) was part of the US build-up of strength before the invasion of the Gilbert Islands.

Nukufetu Atoll (or Nukufetau) is part of the Ellice Islands, and is 650 miles to the south-east of Tarawa. Motolalo, at the southern corner of the Atoll, is the largest of the islands. In early August 1943 Nimitz decided to occupy the atoll as it was considerably closer to the Gilbert Islands than Funafuti, at that point one of only two US airfields within range.

Motolalo was occupied by an advance party from the Marine 2nd Airdrome Battalion on 27 August 1943, with the main part of the unit arriving five days later.

Two airfields were build on the island - a 3,500 fighter strip which crossed the island from west to east was ready by 9 October. A 6,100ft long bomber strip, which ran north-south and crossed the fighter strip, was ready by the end of the month. Both were used during the attack on the Gilbert Islands. Two bomber squadrons were based on the island by the start of the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. The airfields fell out of use early in 1944, and the airfields were reduced in important in May 1944, before being closed in December 1944.

Havbier i andre verdenskrig - Seabees in World War II

Da andre verdenskrig brøt ut, eksisterte ikke de amerikanske marinebataljonene (Seabees). De logistikk av en to teater krigen ble skremmende å tenke. Bakadmiral Moreell forstod helt problemstillingene. Det som måtte gjøres var å bygge iscenesettelsesbaser for å ta krigen til fienden, over begge hav, og skape konstruksjonsstyrken til å gjøre arbeidet. Naval Construction Battalions ble først unnfanget på Bureau of Yards and Docks (BuDocks) på 1930-tallet. Utbruddet av fiendtligheter ble avklart for Radm. Mer behovet for å utvikle forhåndsbaser for å projisere amerikansk makt. Løsningen: trykk på det enorme bassenget med dyktig arbeidskraft i USA. Sett det i uniform for å bygge hva som helst, hvor som helst under alle forhold, og få Marine Corps til å trene det. De første frivillige kom dyktige. For å oppnå disse handelsmennene ble militæralderen frafalt til 50 år. Det ble senere funnet at flere over 60 hadde klart å komme seg inn. Menn fikk avansert rang / lønn basert på erfaring som gjorde Seabees til den best betalte gruppen i det amerikanske militæret. De første 60 bataljonene hadde en gjennomsnittsalder på 37 år.

"I desember 1942 opphørte frivillig oppføring av Seabee per presidentordre . Det neste året ga Selective Service System yngre ufaglærte rekrutter." Seabee-løsningen var konstruksjonsopplæringssentre med kurs innen over 60 fag. I felten ble seabier kjent for kunsten å skaffe seg materialer ved uoffisielle og uortodokse midler og suvenirfremstilling. Bulldosere , stålpontonger , stålmatte og bølgepapp , kombinert med "oppfinnsomhet og albuefett ble synonymt med Seabees. Nesten 11.400 ble offiserer i Civil Engineer Corps, hvorav nesten 8000 tjenestegjorde hos CB. Under krigen ble Naval Construction Force (NCF) ble samtidig spredt over flere prosjekter over hele verden. 13. februar 1945 sjef for sjøoperasjoner , flåteadmiral Ernest J. King , gjorde NCF til et permanent sjøelement. Før det skjedde hadde Seabees meldt seg frivillig til mange oppgaver utenfor NCF: Naval Combat Demolition Units , UDTs , Marine Corps Engineers / Pioneers og den topphemmelige Chemical Warfare Service Flame tank Group. Selv om Seabees hadde mange enhetstyper og hadde sine oppgaver utenfor NCF, skilte andre tjenester og resten av marinen seg ikke var ganske enkelt "Seabees".


Pre-war naval construction development Edit

In the late 1930s the US saw the need to prepare militarily. Congress authorized the expansion of naval Shore Activities in the Caribbean and by 1939 in the Central Pacific. "Following standard peacetime guidelines the Navy awarded contracts to civilian constructions firms. These contractors employed native civilian populations as well as U.S citizens and were answerable to naval officers in charge of construction. By 1941 large bases were being built on Guam, Midway, Wake, Pearl Harbor, Iceland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and Trinidad to name a few." [7] International law, dictated civilians not to resist enemy military attacks. Resistance meant they could be summarily executed as guerrillas. [8] Wake turned out to be an case in point for Americans.

World War II Edit

The need for a militarized construction force became evident after the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 28 Radm. Moreell requested authority to create Naval Construction Battalions. The Bureau of Navigation gave authorization on 5 January 1942. [10] Three Battalions were officially authorized on 5 March 1942. Enlistment was voluntary until December when the Selective Service System became responsible for recruitment. Seabee Training Centers were named for former heads of the Civil Engineer Corps: Radm. Mordecai T. Endicott, Radm. Harry H. Rousseau, Radm. Richard C. Hollyday, Radm. Charles W. Park and RADM. Robert Peary. [11] One NCTC was named for the first CEC killed in action, Lt. Irwin W. Lee and Lt. (jg) George W. Stephenson of the 24th CB. [12]

An issue for BuDocks was CB command. [10] Navy regulations stated that command of naval personnel was limited to line officers of the fleet. BuDocks deemed it essential that CBs be commanded by CEC officers trained in construction. [10] The Bureau of Naval Personnel strongly objected to this violation of Naval tradition. [10] Radm. Moreell took the issue directly to the Secretary of the Navy. [10] In March the Secretary gave the CEC complete command of all men assigned to CB units. [10] With CBs authorized and the command question settled, BuDocks then had to deal with recruitment, training, military organization structure plus organizing the logistics to make it all work. That all happened quickly. Due to the exigencies of war there was a great deal of "improvisation", a quality that became synonymous with Seabees in general. [13]

"At Naval Construction Training Centers (NCTC) and Advanced Base Depots (ABD) on both coasts, men learned: trade skills, military discipline, and advanced combat training. Although technically designated "support", Seabees frequently found themselves under fire with the Marines. After completing boot training at Camp Allen VA. and later Camp Peary VA, the men were formed into CBs or other smaller CB units. The first five battalions were deployed immediately upon completion of training due to the backlog of projects. Battalions that followed were sent to an ABDs at either Davisville, Rhode Island, or Port Hueneme, California to be staged prior to shipping out. Basic military training was done by the Navy while the Marine Corps provided advanced military training at Camp Peary, Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendelton. About 175,000 Seabees were staged out of Port Hueneme during the war. Units that had seen extended service in the Pacific were returned to the R&R Center at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, CA. There units were reorganized, re-deployed or decommissioned. Men were given 30-day leaves and later, those eligible were discharged. The same was done at the Davisville, Rhode Island, for the east coast." [2]

From California, battalions attached to III Amphibious Corps or V Amphibious Corps, were staged to the Moanalua Ridge Seabee encampment in the Hawaiian Territory. It covered 120 acres and had 20 self-contained areas for CB units. [14] Within each area were 6 two-story barracks served by a 1,200 man galley and messhall plus 8 standard quonsets for offices, dispensary, officers quarters and a single large quonset for the ships store. [14] The entire facility had water, sewer, electricity, pavements, armory and a large outdoor theater. [14] A second CB encampment of 4 additional 1000 man Quonsit areas was built on Iroquois Point. [15] Battalions attached to the 7th Amphibious Fleet were staged at Camp Seabee next to the ABCD in Brisbane Australia.

The Atlantic theater Edit

"When the war became a two-ocean war, the Panama Canal became geographically strategic. The convergence of shipping lanes necessitated bases to protect its approaches. Agreements in the Caribbean made that possible as did the Lend Lease Agreement. Under the Greenslade Program naval bases in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Panama Canal Zone were all expanded. In Puerto Rico Naval Station Roosevelt Roads was turned into the "Pearl Harbor of the Caribbean. Construction on existing bases was done primarily by civilian contractors until late 1943 when CBs took over. In the Atlantic, the bases formed a line from Bermuda to Brazil. On the Pacific side of the Americas the U.S had bases from the Honduras to Ecuador. [16] The 80th(colored) CB upgraded Carlson airfield on Trinidad. The 83rd CB cut a highway out of Port of Spain, that required moving one million cubic yards of material." [16] "On the Galapagos Islands, CBD 1012 constructed a seaplane base with tank farm and did the same again at Salinas, Ecuador. Salinas would be the southernmost U.S. base in the Pacific. While not in combat zones these bases were necessary for the overall war effort." [16]

"North Africa was the Seabees' first combat. Landing with the assault in November 1942, they built facilities at Oran, Casablanca, Sifi, and Fedala. Later they would build a string of staging and training areas along the Mediterranean including NAS Port Lyautey, Morocco." [13]

"Once Tunisia was taken the Seabees began a buildup at Bizerte. There they prepped steel pontoon boxes for their first use in combat at Sicily. This Seabee "innovation" was adapted for amphibious warfare. A pontoon box was standardized in size so multiple pontoons could be quickly assembled like to form causeways, piers, or rhinos. As such they could be used to meet the exigencies of amphibious warfare. The beaches of Sicily were considered impossible for an amphibious landing by both the Allies and Axis. The Seabees with their pontoons proved that was not true. The Germans were overwhelmed by the men and material that poured ashore over them. [13]

"Seabee causeways were used again at Salerno and Anzio. The Germans were prepared causing heavy casualties at both. At Anzio Seabees were under continuous fire for a long time. After Southern Italy the Seabees had one last task in the theater, Operation Dragoon." [13]

"Seabee operations in the North Atlantic began early 1942. The first were in Iceland, Newfoundland, and Greenland. These airfields and ports supported Allied convoys. To complete the defensive line these bases made, Seabees were sent to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Lough Erne, Loch Ryan, and Rosneath, Scotland. Depots, fuel farms, and seaplane bases were constructed to anchor the line. Afterwards the Seabees went South for Operation Overlord preparations. They built invasion bases from Milford Haven to Exeter and prepared for their own multifaceted D-day role." [13]

On D-Day Seabees were the first ashore as Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU). Their task was to remove German defensive beach obstructions built to impede amphibious landings. [13] "They came under very heavy fire, but placed and detonated all their charges. The gaps created permitted the assault to hit the beach. To facilitate this Seabees placed pontoon causeways over which the assault could access the gaps." [13] "Seabees also brought their Rhino ferries, a motorized adaptation of their modular pontoon boxes. With them, vast amounts of men and material went ashore. For the American sector Seabees assembled piers, and breakwaters into Mulberry A. It was a temporary port until French ports were liberated. Even after weather disabled the Mulberry, Seabees continued to get thousands of tons supplies and troops ashore." [13]

"The liberation of Cherbourg and Le Havre gave CBs major projects. These were the harbors that would replace Mulberry A. Foreseeing the Allies would want those harbors the Germans had left them in ruins. At Cherbourg the first cargo landed 11 days of the Seabees and within a month it was handling 14 ships simultaneously. Seabees repeated this at Le Havre and again at Brest, Lorient, and St. Nazaire." [13]

"The last Seabee project in Europe was the crossing of the Rhine. The U.S. Army called for Seabees to do the job, but General Patton ordered they wear Army fatigues to do it. They crossed first at Bad Neuenahr near Remagen and the Seabees made the operation work as planned. On 22 March 1945, the Seabees put Gen. George S. Patton and his armor across at Oppenheim, on pontoon ferries. More than 300 craft were involved. One crew even took Prime Minister Churchill across." [13]

"The 69th was the only CB to set foot in Germany. They also were the first CB to deployed by air. They were flown to Bremen in April 1945 tasked to repair damaged buildings and power lines for the U.S. occupation force. Making the port of Bremerhaven operational also fell to them. One detachment was sent to Frankfurt-am-Main to make the U.S. Navy Hq in Germany. By August 1945 the battalion was back in England concluding Atlantic operations." [13]

The Pacific theater Edit

"Pacific Seabee deeds were historically unparalleled. [17] The Pacific was where 80% of the NCF literally built the road to V-J-day. It built all the airfields, piers, ammunition bunkers, supply depots, hospitals, fuel tanks, and barracks required to make it happen on 300 plus islands." [13]

"The entire Pacific, including Alaska and the Aleutians were Japanese targets. Japanese operations of 1942, took the islands of Attu and Kiska. Seabees sent to the North were there to work on stalling what appeared at the time to be a major Japanese offensive. By late June 1942 bases were being built on Adak and Amchitka which served as deterrents for the remainder of the war." [13] While the CBs in the north went there with standard CB assignments they had some non-standard tasks. Twice CB 45 had ships literally beached on their doorstep on Tanaga Island in the Aleutians. They assisted the safe evacuations of both the USS Ailanthus (AN-38) and the LST 451. They put damage control crews aboard the LST. Working round the clock for five days they salvaged the ship. CB 4 had divers in the water on another salvage operation in the Aleutians. And, CBMU 1058 was sent into Naval Petroleum Reserve 4 to drill for oil as well as survey a potential pipeline route.

"The first CB projects were on Bora Bora where the 1st CB Detachment arrived February 1942. The det took the name "Bobcats" from the Operation's code name BOBCAT (they deployed before the "Seabee" name was created). The project was a fuel depot on the down under route to Australia. They encountered typical issues of the tropics: incessant rain, 50 types of dysentery, numerous skin problems, and the dreaded elephantiasis. Combined they made conditions miserable, and were harbingers of what was awaiting Seabees else wheres. That det was beset with difficulties, but gained satisfaction when the island's tank farms fueled Task Force 44 for the Battle of the Coral Sea." [13]

"While the Bobcats were in transit to Bora Bora the 2nd and 3rd CB Detachments were formed. The 2nd went to Tongatapu in the Tonga Islands while the 3rd went to Efate in the New Hebrides. Both lay on down under routes too. Bases built on them would support actions in the Coral Sea and the Solomon Islands. Espiritu Santo's Espiritu Santo Naval Base in the New Hebrides became strategic when the Japanese took Guadalcanal and started airfields there. The 3rd CB Det was rushed from Efate to Espiritu Santo to build a countermanding field asap. Within 20 days a 6000ft airstrip was operational.

CB 3 sent a detachment to Bora Bora to augment the Bobcats. [18] In the fall of 1943 the Seabees all received orders to Noumea to join CB 3. Before that happened they were redesignated 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines. [18] The remainder of A Co. CB 3 was transferred to the 22nd as well. Neither the Bobcats nor A Co had not received advanced military training before deploying so the 22nd Marines gave them all an intense field version on Bora Bora. Afterwards the regiment returned to Hawaii for amphibious warfare training. [18] For the Marshalls landings 3rd Battalion was tasked as shore party, engineers and demolitions men. [18] They would see extensive combat at the Battle of Eniwetok. When those operations were over the 22nd Marines were given a Naval Unit Commendation and the Bobcats and A Co 3 CB were released by the Marines. [18]

On 30 October 1942 the USS Enterprise (CV-6) pulled into Noumea damaged from the Battle of Santa Cruz. [19] She was the only air craft carrier remaining west of Pearl Harbor, but had a bomb go through the flight deck at the bow. Two of enterprise's aircraft elevators were out of commission as well as a torpedo elevator. [19] The flight deck arrestor cables were severed and their gear damaged. One near miss was midships below the waterline while another was adjacent the elevator hit. [19] B Co. from CB 3 put 75 men aboard her to assist effect emergency repairs en route to the first naval Battle of the Solomons. Underway to engage the enemy, the Seabees focused on the repairs even into the battle. [19] They had worked round-the-clock under the Enterprise's damage control officer along with 40 men off the repair ship USS Vestal. [21] He wrote that on 11 November: "She made the open sea with her decks. shaking and echoing to air hammers, with welders' arcs sparking. and with her forward elevator still jammed. since the bomb. broke it in half." [22] On 13 November the ship's Captain of notified SOPAC in Noumea that "The emergency repairs accomplished by this skillful, well-trained, and enthusiastically energetic force have placed this vessel in condition for further action against the enemy". [23] Those repairs enabled the Enterprise to engage and sink the Japanese battleship Hiei that day. Over the next three days her planes would be involved in the sinking of 16 and damaging another 8. [19] When it was over and Vice Admiral Bull Halsey knew what those Seabee repairs meant to the outcome. He sent a commendatory letter to the Seabee's OIC, Lt. Quayle: "Your commander wishes to express to you and the men of the Construction Battalion serving under you, his appreciation for the services rendered by you in effecting emergency repairs during action against the enemy. The repairs were completed by these men with speed and efficiency. I hereby commend them for their willingness, zeal, and capability." [24] The Navy learned from this that the fleet could turn to the Seabees for repairs. The 27th CB created its own "Ships Repair Shop" as a courtesy to the fleet. Its divers replaced 160 damaged ship's props. That "Shop" logged major repairs on 145 vessels, including 4 submarines. [25]

The 6th CB became the first CB to see combat with the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal. Their task was keeping Henderson Field operational. The Japanese made this a never-ending job, bombing it as fast as the Seabees repaired it. The first Seabee Silver Star was for actions there." [13] "The Marines/Seabees made simultaneous landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi Island. On Tulagi it was to construct the PT base behind the famous sea battles in the "slot"" [13] PT Squadron 2 was there and requested Seabee volunteers nightly to fill out its crews. [25] It also would be Hq Motor Torpedo Boat So. Pacific Command MTBSoPac. News worthy to the troops at the time, off Tassafaronga Point on Guadalcanal, Seabees in a Higgins boat ran into the periscope of a sunk Japanese two-man sub 300 yd (270 m) offshore. [26] It was in 20 ft (6.1 m) of water and with improvised diving gear they hooked cables for bulldozers to pull it ashore. With bulldozers straining, eight sticks of dynamite blast it free of the mud suction force and it was beached. It became a "must see" for U.S troops on Guadalcanal. [13]

Like CBs, PTs were new in WWII. The Seabees would build 119 PT bases. The largest would be on Mios Woendi. Many battalions were involved, however, the 113th and 116th CBs had PT Advance Base Construction Detachments. The 113th's det was attached to Task Group 70.1 [27] through the end of the war. It was a precursor to postwar Seabee teams. Each man was cross-trained in multiple trades with some qualified as corpsmen or divers. [28]

Down under deployments had CBs building bases in New Zealand and Australia. As the war island-hopped the Seabees landed in assaults with Kiwis and Aussies on multiple islands to build airfields for joint RNZAF, RAAF, U.S. Army Air Corps operations. There were some airfields like Turtle Bay that were built for joint USMC RNZAF use. Kukum Field on Guadalcanal was home at various times to RNZAF Squadrons 1, 2, 3, 14, 15, 16, and 17 as well as the USAAF. On Noemfoor the 95th CB repaired three airfields that would service RAAF 22, 30, 37, 75, 76, and 80 Squadrons. Solomons, the Russells, Rendova, New Georgia, and Bougainville CBs turned all into some kind of advanced base. "Mid-1943 Merauke, New Guinea got an air strip and comm station at Port Moresby. In December Seabees with the 1st Marine Division landed at Cape Gloucester. There, Seabees of the 19th Marines bulldozed trails for armor beyond the front lines so far they had to be told to hold up. [13] A Co 87th CB had to visit the armory for combat gear prior to joining the 3rd New Zealand Division. The 3rd New Zealander's took Seabees with them in taking the Green and Treasury Island groups. Japanese occupied Papua, New Guinea, and New Britain was Australian administered Territory that saw Battalions from Camp Seabee Brisbane.

Prior to Cape Gloucester the 1st Marine Division posted notice requesting flight qualified volunteers to form an aviation unit of Piper L4 Grasshoppers. [29] Sixty stepped forward with a dozen having flight time. A Seabee in the 17th Marines, MM2 Chester Perkins, was one. [30] Perkins and the others were put through two months training for recon and artillery spotting once the Pipers arrived. He logged over 200 hours dropping flares ammo, medical supplies, observing troop movements, and providing taxi service to officers. [30] For this Maj. Gen. Rupertus, USMC promoted him to Staff sergeant/Petty officer 1st class and Admiral Nimitz wrote him and the other flyers commendations for the Navy Air Medal. [30]

"The Admiralities became key to isolating Rabaul and the neutralization of New Britain. The seizure of Manus Island and Los Negros Island cut supplies from all points north and east. By 1944 Seabees had transformed those islands into the largest Lion and Oak in the Southwest Pacific. The Lion became the main supply and repair depot of the Seventh Fleet. The capture of Emirau completed the encirclement of Rabaul. A strategic two-field Oak, with depots, dry dock, and PT base was constructed there." [13]

"The Central Pacific saw CBs both landing in all the assaults, their efforts moved the U.S relentlessly toward the Japanese homeland. Tarawa in the Gilberts was bad, but in fifteen hours Seabees had the airfield operational. They turned Majuro Atoll into one of the fleet's Lions and similarly transformed Kwajalein Atoll into a Oak." [13]

"Seizure of the Marianas turned the Pacific war. Their loss cut the Japanese defense and placed Japan within bomber range. Operation Forager saw CBs make significant contributions at the Kwajalein, Saipan, Guam, and Tinian. On Siapan and Tinian top secret Seabee handiwork was fielded by the 2nd and 4th Tank Battalions, flamethrowing tanks. Within four days of capture, Seabees had Aslito on Saipan operational. During the battle for Guam, CB Specials did stevedoring while others were Marine combat engineers. When they were done CBs turned Guam into a Lion for the fleet and an Oak for the air corps. The invasion of Tinian was a showcase of Seabee ingenuity and engineering. The CEC engineered detachable ramps mounted on LVT-2s making landings possible where the Japanese thought it was impossible. Before the island was even secure, Seabees were completing an unfinished Japanese airfield." [13]

During 1944 dredging harbors to facilitate movement of men, supplies, and vessels became an unheralded priority. The 301st CB was formed to do the job and given four demolitioneers from the UDTs, two of them ex-NCDU. Between them they had three Silver stars and one Bronze.

"Once the Marianas were taken B-29s needed an emergency field and a forward base for fighter escort. Iwo Jima was chosen for V Amphibious Corps to assault on 19 February 1945. The assault had 4 battalions tasked as shore party: 4th & 5th Pioneers and 31st & 133rd CBs. The 133rd suffered the most casualties in Seabee History tasked to the 23rd Marines D-day-D+18. Only basic road construction was accomplished during the first days. Work on the first airfield began on D+5. [13] On Iwo Jima it got so that the Marines would hold up the assault to wait for one of their Seabee built flamethrowering tanks.

"Island hopping CBs made Hollandia instrumental in reclaiming the Philippines. The 3rd Naval Construction Brigade was part of MacArthur's return to Leyte. Seabee pontoons brought MacArthur's Forces ashore. The 3rd was joined by the 2nd and 7th NCF Brigades. Together they numbered 37,000 and together they turned the Philippines into a huge advance base. The 7th Amphibious Force moved Hq there with CBs building everything: fleet anchorages, sub bases, fleet repair facilities, fuel and supply depots, Pt bases and airfields. [13] At Dulag, Leyte Seabee industry became an issue to the Japanese. There, the 61st CB had a air strip detachment assaulted by Japanese paratroopers. The assault lasted 72 hours with the Japanese losing over 350 men. [31] As in the South Pacific, PTs had Seabees augmenting crews on runs along Halmahera in the Lembeh Strait. [32]

"At Okinawa the 24th Army Corps and Third Marine Amphibious Corps landed off Rhinos and causeways of the 130th CB. The 58th, 71st, and 145th CBs were attached to the three Marine Division. The Seabees created an entire Battalion of flamethrowering tanks for the assault. Numerous CBs followed, as Okinawa became the anticipated jumping-off point for invasion of Japan. Nearly 55,000 in four CB brigades were there. By August 1945 everything was prepped for the invasion." [13] In the three months it took to secure the Island, seven stevedore battalions offloaded 2,000,000 tons. [33]

When the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) delivered the atomic bomb to Tinian [34] 6th Brigade Seabees unloaded the components, stored and posted guard. [34] When technicians assembled the weapon Seabees assisted as needed. [34] On 6 August it was loaded into a B29 [34] for the bombing of Hiroshima. When the war ended 258,872 officers and enlisted had served in the Seabees. Their authorized allotment of 321,056 was never reached. [35] The war saw over 300 Seabees killed in action while over 500 died on the job site. [36] U.S. Fleet Admiral Halsey: "The Seabees helped crush the Japs in every South Pacific campaign". [37]

Lions, Cubs, Oaks, Acorns advance base units Edit

Advance base construction operations were given a code name as a numbered metaphor for the size/type of base the Seabees were to construct and assigned to it the "unit" charged with development and administration of that base. [38] These were Lion, Cub, Oak and Acorn with a Lion being a large Fleet Base numbered 1–6. [39] Cubs were Secondary Fleet Bases 1/4 the size of a Lion (numbered 1–12 and most often for PT boats) [40] Oak and Acorn were the names given airfields, new or captured enemy fields (primary and secondary in size). [41] Cubs were quickly adopted as the primary type airfield with few Oaks. Of the three base types Lions, Cubs and Acorns, Acorns received priority due to their tactical importance and the speed at which the Seabees could make one operational. The Navy believed the Seabees could produce an operational runway overnight. In the Office of Naval Operations manual for Logistics of Advance Bases it reads " Highly mobile Acorns. can be established by surprise tactics between sunset and sunrise on enemy territory. (are) strategically important. offensive instruments possessing tactical surprise to a highly portentous degree." [42] : Page 88

Camp Bedilion was home to the Acorn Assembly and Training Detachment responsible for training and organizing Acorn units. It shared a common fenceline with Camp Rousseau at Port Hueneme. [43] A Lion, Cub, or Acorn was composed of three components: Base Operation units, Fleet/Aviation repair-maintenance units and Construction Battalion personnel. CBs constructed, repaired or upgraded 111 major airfields with the number of acorn fields not published. [44] When the code was first created the Navy thought it would require two CBs to construct a Lion. By 1944 entire Construction Regiments were being used to build Lions.

Lions, Cubs, Oaks, Acorns USN Administration in WWII: [42] ACORN: acronym for Aviation, Construction, Ordnance, Repair. A CBMU was attached to every ACORN. A single island could have multiple Acorns on it. It was common practice to separate airfields for bombers and fighters. In December 1944 the Navy took over an unused Army Air Corps base at Thermal, CA. making it Naval Air Field Thermal. The Navy made it the pre-embarkation and training center for Acorns, CASUs, and CBMUs.

  • Lion 1 Espiritu Santo [45] (1st, 7th 15th, and 40th CBs)
  • Lion 4 Manus
  • Lion 6 Guam
  • Cub 1 Guadalcanal [46]
  • Cub 2 Tulagi
  • Cub 3 Nandi, Fiji [47]
  • Cub 9 Guadalcanal
  • Cub 12 Emirau
  • Acorn 1 Guadalcanal
  • Acorn Red 1 Guadalcanal
  • Acorn 2 Espirto Santo
  • Acorn 3 Banika/south [48]
  • Acorn Red 3 Green Island
  • Acorn 4 Tulagi [49]
  • Acorn 5 Woodlark [50]
  • Acorn 7 Emirau
  • Acorn 8 Noumea
    • Munda Point
    • Biak

    Espirto Santo war's end Edit

    At the end of WWII, Espiritu Santo had become the second largest base the U.S. had in the Pacific. To deal with the vast quantities of supplies and equipment staged there the military had to find a solution. [57] It cost too much to send back to the states and would hurt industry by flooding the market with cheap military surplus. Additionally, the Navy was more concerned about discharging men and mothballing ships. The answer was to offer to sell it to the French for 6 cents on the dollar. The French thought they wouldn't offer anything and the U.S would abandon it all. [57] Instead the U.S ordered the Seabees to build a ramp into the sea by Luganville Airfield. [57] There, day after day the surplus went into the water. Seabees wept at what they had to do. [57] Today the site is a tourist attraction called Million Dollar Point. Individual CBs were ordered to do the same across the Pacific. [58]

    These indicate the construction trade in which a Seabee is skilled. During WWII, the Seabees were the highest-paid group in the U.S. military, due to all the skilled journeymen in their ranks. [59] [60] Camp Endicott had roughly 45 vocational schools plus additional specialized classes. These included Air compressors, Arc welding, BAR, Bridge building, Bulldozer, Camouflage, Carpentry, Concrete, Cranes, Dams, Diving, Diesel engines, Distillation and water purification, Dock building, Drafting, Drilling, Dry docks, Dynamite and demolition, Electricity, Electric motors, First aid, Fire fighting, Gasoline Engines, Generators, Grading roads and airfields, Ice makers, Ignition systems, Judo, Huts and tents, Lubrication, Machine gun, Marine engines, Marston Matting, Mosquito control, Photography, Pile driving, Pipe-fitting/plumbing, Pontoons, Power-shovel operation, Pumps, Radio, Refrigeration, Rifle, Riveting, Road building, Road Scrapers, Sheet metal, Soil testing, Steelworking, Storage tanks wood or steel, Tire repair, Tractor operation, Transformers, Vulcanizing, Water front, and Well-drilling. [61]

    • BMCB : Boatswains Mate Seabee
    • CB : Construction Battalion ( first rate in 1942 for all construction trades)
    • CMCBB : Carpenters Mate CB Builder
    • CMCBD : Carpenters Mate CB Draftsman
    • CMCBE : Carpenters Mate CB Excavation foreman
    • CMCBS : Carpenters Mate CB Surveyor
    • EMCBC : Electricians Mate CB Communications
    • EMCBD : Electricians Mate CB Draftsman
    • EMCBG : Electricians Mate CB General
    • EMCBL : Electricians Mate CB Line and Station
    • GMCB : Gunners Mate CB
    • GMCBG : Gunners Mate CB Armorer
    • GMCBP : Gunners Mate CB Powder-man
    • MMCBE : Machinists Mate CB Equipment Operator
    • SFCBB : Ship Fitter CB Blacksmith
    • SFCBM : Ship Fitter CB Draftsman
    • SFCBP : Ship Fitter CB Pipe-fitter and Plumber
    • SFCBR : Ship Fitter CB Rigger
    • SFCBS : Ship Fitter CB Steelworker
    • SFCBW : Ship Fitter CB Welder

    The Seabees had a divers school of their own to qualify 2nd class divers. During WWII being a diver was not a "rate", it was a "qualification" that had four grades: Master, 1st Class, Salvage, and 2nd Class. [62] CBs would put men in the water from the tropics to the Arctic circle. In the Aleutians CB 4 had divers doing salvage on the Russian freighter SS Turksib in 42 °F water. [63] In the tropics Seabee divers would be sent close to an enemy airfield to retrieve a Japanese aircraft. [64] At Halavo on Florida Island divers from the 27th CB would recover a Disburser's safe full of money plus change 160 props on vessels of all sizes. [25] The Seabees of the 27th CB alone, logged 2.550 diving hours with 1,345 classified as "extra hazardous". [25] Seabee Underwater Demolition Teams were swimmers during WWII, but postwar transitioned to divers. Another historic note to the Seabees is that they had African American divers in the 34th CB. Those men fabricated their diving gear in the field using Navy Mk-III gas masks as taught at diving school. Twice, while at Milne Bay, the 105th CB sent special diving details on undisclosed missions. At Pearl Harbor Seabee Divers were involved in the salvage of many of the ships hit on 7 December as well as the recovery of bodies for a long time after the attack. [65] [66] Divers in the 301st CB placed as much as 50 tons of explosives a day to keep their dredges productive. However, the divers of CB 96 used 1,727,250 lbs of dynamite to blast 423,300 cubic yards of coral for the Ship repair facility on Manicani Island, at the Naval Operating Base Leyte-Samar. [67] Their primary diving gear was modified Navy Mark III and Navy Mark IV gas masks.

    The primary Seabee unit was the battalion, composed of a headquarters company and four construction companies. Each company could do smaller jobs independently as they each had all the basic ratings for doing any job. Hq. Co. was made up primarily of fleet rates plus surveyors and draftsman. A CB's complement was 32 officers and 1,073 enlisted.

    "By 1944 construction projects grew in scope and scale. Often more than one CB was assigned to a job. To promote efficient administrative control 3-4 battalions would be organized into a regiment, if necessary, two or more regiments were organized into a brigade. This happened on Okinawa where 55,000 Seabees deployed. All were under the Commander, Construction Troops, Commodore Andrew G. Bisset (CEC). He also had 45,000 U.S. Army engineers under his command making it the largest concentration of construction troops ever." [2]

    The overall cost of all Seabee projects was $11 billion. At wars end they would number over 258,000. The NCF grew into 12 Naval Construction Brigades of: 54 Construction Regiments, 151 CBs, 39 Special CBs, 136 CB Maintaince Units, 118 CB Detachments, and 5 Pontoon Assembly Detachments. [68] In addition, many Seabees served in the NCDUs, UDTs, Cubs, Lions, Acorns and Marine Corps.

    While the CB itself was versatile it was apparent that some units could be smaller and/or specialized for task specific units. "The first departure from the standard CB was the "Special" Construction Battalion, or the "CB Special". "Special" CBs were composed of stevedores and longshoremen who were badly needed for the unloading of cargo in combat zones. Many officers for "Specials" were recruited from the Merchant Marine (and commissioned as CEC) while stevedoring companies were the source of many of the enlisted. Soon, the efficiency of cargo handling in combat zones was on a par to that found in the most efficient ports in the U.S." [2] There were five battalions specialized in pontoons, barges, and causeways: 70th, 81st, 111th, 128th, 302nd. [69] The 134th & 139th CBs were made trucking units due to the transportation and logistic needs on Guam and Okinawa.

    "Several types of smaller, specialized units were created. Construction Battalion Maintenance Units/CBMUs, a quarter the size of a CB were one. They were Public Works units intended to assume base maintenance of newly constructed bases. Another unit type was the Construction Battalion Detachment/CBD, of 6 to 600 men. CBDs did everything from running tire-repair shops to operating dredges. Many were tasked with the handling, launching, assembly, installation of pontoon causeways. Others were petroleum dets specializing in pipelines or petroleum facilities)." [2]

    The Seabee's machinegun-toting bumblebee insignia was created by Frank J. Iafrate, a clerk at the Camp Endicott, Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Iafrate was known for being artistic and a lieutenant asked if he could do a "Disney style" Seabee insignia. He chose the bumblebee for his model. Image-wise they have more "heft" than the honeybee and "heft" suited the whole idea. He put three hours sketching: a sailor's cap, a uniform with petty officer ranks on each arm plus the tools and rates of the gunner's mate, machinist mate, and carpenter's mate. On each wrist he placed the CEC insignia. For a border he usedna letter Q for Quonset Point. He gave the design to the lieutenant. The lieutenant showed it to his captain, who sent it off to Adm. Moreell. The only change the Admiral requested was that the border be changed to a hawser rope in keeping with Naval tradition for Naval insignia. [70]

    Watch the video: Moto X Promo video Quick Camera Draw, Always Ready Google Now August 1, 2013 (January 2022).