Military


Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE
NMCB 1
"First and Finest"

Naval Mobile Construction ONE is one of eight active battalions tasked with providing advance base construction and battle damage repair, contingency engineering, humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery support to our fleet and unified commanders.

United States Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE has a proud and distinguished history, reaching back to the early days of World War II, when it was first commissioned as Naval Construction Battalion ONE. Since its recommissioning as Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE in 1949, NMCB ONE has served with distinction for over 49 years of active commissioned service.

With the advent of World War II, the United States Navy had a crucial need for advance bases along the South Pacific supply line connecting the Panama Canal with Australia and New Zealand. To build these bases, the Navy began recruiting skilled construction men, the men who later became the famed Seabees of World War II under Admiral Ben Moreell.

About a thousand of these men were assembled at the Naval Construction Training Center, Camp Allen, Norfolk, VA., and were formed into United States Naval Construction Battalion ONE. The Battalion was commissioned on March 15, 1942, 98 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

A week later the Battalion was divided into two detachments, destined for islands in the Pacific. The Second Construction Detachment constructed a tank farm fueling station in the Tonga Islands, consisting of twenty-two 10,000-barrel tanks for fuel and oil and twenty-six 500-barrel gasoline tanks. In addition to their primary tasking, the Seabees of the Second Detachment built a seaplane base with a coral ramp, an Army hospital, gun emplacements, warehouses and camp facilities. A special task was construction of a special concrete bulkhead for the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga.

Despite shortages of equipment most of the projects were completed within nine months of the initial landing. Later, as the tank farms were needed further west the Second Detachment dismantled the tank farm on Tongatabu for shipment to Wallis Island on the western end of the Solomon Islands.

The two detachments operated independently until April 1943, when they rejoined at the Hebrides Islands. The main project there was the construction of Base Hospital Number Two. Initially, the goal was for each 10-man crew to build one Quonset hut a week. Before long, the crews were completing one a day.

Meanwhile, the Third Construction Detachment was dispatched to Espirtu Santos Island on July 8, 1943, and began the tradition of "Can Do!" which has since become the motto of the Seabees. Their assignment was to build a 6,000-foot operational airstrip on the island. In just 20 days the Seabees had cleared the jungle and completed the runway.

After 23 months in the South Pacific, Naval Construction Battalion ONE returned to the United States. Most of the men were transferred to other units and the Battalion was decommissioned in June 1944.

The accomplishments of the Seabees during the greatest war in history are legend. Naval Construction Battalion ONE -- the Pioneer Seabees -- helped build that tradition.

In 1949 the Navy began an intensive reorganization which included the creation and formation of a new type of construction force - the Mobile Construction Battalion. On August 8, 1949, U. S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE -- "The First and Finest" -- was established at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, VA. The formal commissioning ceremony was October 28, 1949.

Preparation for the Battalion's first mission began in October 1949 with the arrival of the Battalion's equipment at Little Creek. The Battalion sailed from Little Creek on December 28, 1949, for Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. The Battalion landed on January 3, 1950, and prepared facilities for the Joint Operation PORTREX. The Seabees built two gravel-packed wells, rehabilitated a third, and installed pipes and pumps for all three. They also built three 1,000-barrel tanks, bleachers, targets, and surfaced and maintained roads for the operation. The Battalion returned to Little Creek on February 21, 1950.

NMCB ONE's next assignment was to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they arrived on May 11, 1950. Their primary task was the demolition of Pier M, with the debris to be used in the construction of a breakwater. They also renovated Pier L, built roads, and engaged in combat training. They departed Guantanamo Bay on August 19, 1950, for seven weeks of leave and training in homeport.

Bermuda was the Battalion's next destination. The Seabees arrived at Naval Station Bermuda on October 13, 1950 and commenced work on a number of projects. The included constructing roads, resurfacing a water catchment area, installing boilers and pipe, roofing and painting. The Battalion completed its work in December, and returned to Little Creek.

Early 1951 saw the Battalion begin its transfer to the Naval Yards and Docks Supply Depot at Davisville, Rhode Island. A complement of 56 Seabees arrived at Davisville, and began construction of a 1,000-man camp on February 8, 1951. Most camp facilities were completed by June 1951.

In the meantime, the main body of NMCB ONE departed Little Creek January 31, 1951, for a second tour of duty at Guantanamo Bay. Construction of a concrete seaplane ramp was the principle assignment, and the Battalion also engaged in various other construction projects. It also sent out three detachments. Detachment A built forty-eight 50' by 20' magazines and supporting facilities at Port Lyautey, French Morocco; Detachment B demolished some piers at the former submarine base in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands; and Detachment C was assigned to Naval Air Station Oceana, VA., to construct components of the Base Command Project. NMCB ONE sailed from Cuba on June 2, 1951, and arrived at their new home at the Naval Construction Battalion Center, Davisville on June 6, 1951.

Upon their arrival at their new home, the Seabees completed building the camp. Detachment D left Davisville on August 3, 1951, for the Naval Station, Argentia, Newfoundland, where they were tasked to begin erection of Quonset huts and conversion of a barracks into married quarters. The main body of the Battalion joined them in October. Construction was completed on December 13, 1951, and the Battalion again returned to Davisville for a cycle of leave and training.

NMCB ONE deployed to Port Lyautey, French Morocco, on March 6, 1952. Over the next four months the Battalion built seven Butler buildings, three storage tanks, an aerological data building, a 200-foot fence around the radar area and a 500-foot jet blast wall. Their mission complete, the Battalion sailed for homeport on July 29, 1952.

The fall of 1952 saw the Battalion in its third tour of duty at Guantanamo Bay. Landing on October 15, the Battalion quickly got to work. The construction plan called for one-phase completion of a two-story fleet training building. Completing this, the Battalion also constructed a large drum storage area, a warehouse, a block plant and curing area, a boundary fence, fuel and water lines, roads, and started construction of the Registered Publications Issuance Office Building. On February 2, 1953, Detachment E left the Battalion to construct two 10,000-barrel storage tanks on Vieques Island. This was in support of Second Marine Division training exercises, and the detachment rejoined the Battalion on March 10. NMCB ONE left Guantanamo on April 3, 1953, leaving behind Detachment F, which produced concrete block in preparation for a scheduled housing project.

After a short training and construction cycle at Davisville, the Battalion was back at Guantanamo Bay in June 1953. The Battalion continued construction of the Publications Office Building, and also built more roads, boundary fences and fuel lines. NMCB ONE returned to homeport on December 12, 1953.

Early in 1954 two detachments were sent out on special assignments. Detachment G was sent to the Naval Air station, Brunswick, ME., in January to assist in snow removal operations, and returned to Davisville in March. Detachment H sailed for Naval Station Bermuda in March 1954, where they refurbished two piers, performed minor paving tasks and operated a sawmill. Detachment H returned to homeport in September.

After a three-month training period, NMCB ONE embarked on March 13, 1954, for a second trip to Argentia, Newfoundland. The Battalion's primary tasking was the extension of a runway 1,450 feet beyond the base shoreline. During their seven-month stay the Battalion completed the entire runway subgrade, 50 percent of the concrete hangar apron, excavated three taxiways, applied seal coats to the airfield pavement, and installed airfield lighting and a jet fuel distribution system. In addition, Seabees renovated a theater, Marine barracks, fire escapes, and a seawall, and they redecked two piers and built a recreation building. NMCB ONE put back into homeport on October 19, 1954.

The new year saw NMCB ONE headed back to Guantanamo Bay. The Battalion arrived on January 13, 1955, with the main project consisting of the construction of the Nob Hill housing complex, consisting of 100 units. Seven months later, the Battalion had completed 47 housing units, new dock facilities, a power plant, and had rehabilitated the water mains. NMCB ONE returned to homeport on August 31, 1955, for a three-month homeport interlude.

Returning again to "Gitmo" on November 17, the Battalion completed the housing complex, a trailer park, a Chief Petty Officer's lounge, the Red Dog Inn Snack Bar, and most of a sewage treatment plant. In addition, they also started to grade for construction at Leeward Point and removed Quonset huts from west Bargo. Early in the deployment Detachment J left for Port Lyautey. While in French Morocco the detachment built two 10,000-barrel tanks, an aviation gas truck repair shop, and a swimming pool. They embarked back to Davisville on May 17, 1956, and rejoined NMCB ONE, which had departed from Guantanamo on May 7.

Two more detachments formed in the spring and summer of 1956. Detachment L left for Port Lyautey in May, followed in July by Detachment M. The detachments erected security and camp facilities at Port Lyautey and Rota, Spain. The men returned to Davisville on 17 March 1957.

The main body spent the summer of 1956 preparing for Operation DEEP FREEZE II in Antarctica. NMCB ONE personnel trained in the assembly and operation of pontoon barges at Little Creek, VA. In mid-September 1956, the advance party left Davisville aboard USS Arneb and USS Wyandot. After transiting the Panama Canal the expedition divided, with one detail sailing along the South American coast and the other four details sailing via New Zealand. With a rear echelon in Davisville, and Detachments in Spain, French Morocco, New Zealand, McMurdo Sound, Little America, and off the South American coast, NMCB ONE was employed simultaneously on six continents.

During the Antarctic summer NMCB ONE personnel constructed the Weddell Sea, Knox Coast and Cape Adare bases, and did construction at McMurdo Sound and Little America. The five Antarctic echelons returned to Davisville in March and April, and the Battalion regrouped in homeport through the first half of 1957.

Detachment N was sent out to Argentia, Newfoundland on June 25, 1957, for an eight-month stint of barracks renovation and pavement work. On July 25, 1957, the Battalion sailed from Davisville to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. Their task was to renovate the WWII-era base. NMCB ONE renovated barracks, expanded the electrical system, built a dispensary, a parking lot, and a fuel storage area and guided missile support facilities. In addition, an old Noncommissioned Officer's Club was turned into a 350-seat chapel. NMCB ONE returned to homeport on February 21, 1958, minus Detachment O, which stayed behind in Roosevelt Roads to complete construction tasks.

Detachment P was formed while in homeport, and left for Bermuda in May 1958. They arrived on May 17 to resurface the catchment area, finish installation of the catchment tank and pipeline, and to construct and renovate buildings. NMCB ONE's main body arrived back in Guantanamo Bay on May 19, and started construction of the Kittery Beach housing complex. They also repaired perimeter roads and graded for the relocation of a 735,000-gallon water tank. Once again, NMCB ONE returned to Davisville for a three-month training and leave cycle on November 29, 1958.

On March 13, 1959, the Battalion was back in "Gitmo" finishing the Kittery Beach project. Detachment Q embarked for Argentia on May 7, tasked with replacing steam lines, pouring 73 concrete slabs, replacing roofing, constructing a concrete building, installing three limiting reactors and placing riprap. The detachment and main body was reunited in Davisville in early December, for a Christmas in homeport.

March of 1960 saw NMCB ONE training at Camp Lejeune, N.C. In May the Battalion received orders to Europe. The advance party left Davisville in March, and the main body arrived at Naval Station Rota, Spain, on May 29, 1960. The Battalion's main task was the construction of eleven type "B" magazines. The Seabees also built security facilities and expanded camp facilities. A detachment of 10 men were detailed to Port Lyautey to build seven gasoline storage tanks, and 50 men were sent to Sigonella, Sicily, to erect nine buildings for the Naval Air Station. NMCB ONE sailed back to homeport in March 1961, for four months of well-deserved rest.

A second Antarctic trip followed the Battalion's summer respite at Davisville. Slated for McMurdo Sound, the Seabees of NMCB ONE were tasked with building a nuclear power plant. Components of the four million-dollar plant were packed at Davisville aboard the USS Arneb, which arrived at McMurdo Sound on November 3, 1961. The Arneb was unloaded and the components transported eight miles to the construction site on 10- and 20-ton sleds. The Battalion completed the project on March 4, 1962, and earned the Navy Unit Commendation for their work. NMCB ONE also built operation and support facilities at McMurdo Sound, Hallett, and New Byrd Stations, and prepared topographical surveys for these stations and for the Pole Station. Their task complete, NMCB ONE headed back to homeport on March 14, 1962.

Detachment S sailed for Argentia, Newfoundland in July, at the end of a four-month homeport period. There the detachment constructed navigational aids and water supply facilities. Returning briefly to Davisville in December, it embarked a second time, this time for Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, where they made repairs to the Naval Station's piers.

Meanwhile, NMCB ONE departed for its second European tour via Boeing 707s, the first time the Battalion deployed via air. Arriving at Rota on July 19, the Battalion began a series of projects. They constructed a medium-range radar tower, additions to a pier transit shed and aviation ordnance buildings, a Marine administration building, and various port facilities. NMCB ONE deployed back to homeport on February 5, 1963. For its efforts in the previous year, NMCB ONE was awarded the Peltier Award for 1962, as the best unit of its type.

Following five weeks of training at Camp Lejeune in March and April 1963, NMCB ONE again sailed for Guantanamo Bay on July 10. The Battalion had projects at both Windward and Leeward Points. At Leeward Point, the projects included new ground support equipment buildings, an aviation gas refueler compound, a new squadron line maintenance building, a new crash-crew facility, and a new perimeter road and fence. At Windward Point the Seabees installed telephone cables and water mains, and built curbs and paved roads. The Battalion finished up its ninth "Gitmo" deployment on March 12, 1964, and returned to Davisville.

During the following homeport, the Battalion prepared for its next deployment, to Argentia, Newfoundland. Advance parties left Davisville on May 12 and June 9, 1964. In addition, Detachment U left in May for Cartago, Costa Rica, on a flood control mission. Excavating and diking the Reventado Streambed, detachment U diverted annual mudflows away from the village, earning them the thanks and praise of the Costa Rican president. Detachment U returned to Davisville in March 1965.

While Detachment U was up to their chests in mud, the NMCB ONE main body joined its advance parties at Argentia on July 15, 1964. At Argentia the Battalion built an inner-perimeter security fence with a built-in communications system around the Advanced Underwater Warfare Building, and replaced a deck-mounted power and telephone system in the supply office with an overhead system. NMCB ONE also built two enlisted men's cabins and renovated various camp facilities. A 31-man detachment was sent to Lakehurst, New Jersey, where they constructed a 3,000-foot short airfield for tactical support. NMCB ONE ended its tour at Argentia on November 15, 1964, and returned to Davisville on November 18.

While in homeport the Battalion conducted six weeks of training at Camp Lejeune, and sent a three-man Seabee Technical Assistance Team to the Central African Republic to train citizens in road maintenance.

NMCB ONE set out for its tenth tour of duty at Guantanamo Bay in April 1965. During this tour the Battalion built new shop facilities, started a new barracks complex, built a 200-foot retaining wall and constructed a new fender system and two new dolphins in Guantanamo Bay. Other projects included bunkers, roads, a new causeway, a recreation building, and installed an air conditioning system. Their tour complete, NMCB ONE set off on November 22, 1965, for their last homeport prior to deploying to the Republic of Vietnam.

In December 1965, NMCB ONE was making preparations to relieve NMCB SEVEN in Rota, Spain. Those plans were scrapped on December 20, when the Battalion was instructed to prepare for a deployment to the Republic of Vietnam in early March. NMCB ONE would be tasked with building a new Seabee camp at Red Beach, seven miles north of Da Nang. On March 8, 1966, the Battalion was airlifted to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, becoming the first East Coast battalion to take part in the conflict.

Work began immediately on the new camp, and it was virtually complete by April 1, 1966. Construction began on the mammoth Force Logistics Command complex and the 30th Naval Construction Regiment headquarters. By July 1 work was started on the Marine LAAM site on Hill 724, 14 miles north of Da Nang. Despite sniper fire and almost impossible working conditions the job was completed in superior fashion.

Another major detachment during the first Vietnam deployment was sent to Chu Lai, south of Da Nang. Their mission was to help complete the crosswind runway at the airstrip there. This new addition made it possible to use the Chu Lai airstrip for tactical combat support missions during almost any weather conditions.

Its work completed, NMCB ONE returned to Davisville for retraining and recuperation on October 31, 1966. For its efforts in Vietnam, NMCB ONE was awarded the Battle "E", and again received the Peltier Award as the best Mobile Construction Battalion in the Navy for 1966.

NMCB ONE returned to Camp Haskins for its second tour of duty in Vietnam in early April 1967. The Battalion encountered a more varied project load, with detachments scattered throughout the I Corps area of operation, as the emphasis shifted from rear-area coastal bases to advance combat bases. More than half of the Battalion's direct labor effort was expended on construction of cantonments, storage facilities, and roadwork. One detachment developed and maintained a rock quarry to support road construction outside of Da Nang. Another detachment joined with several other detachments from other battalions to build an airstrip and 500-man cantonment at Quang Tri. This composite group became known as the "Ghost Battalion."

The second deployment was a time of constant danger from snipers and saboteurs. Bridges were blown repeatedly. Casualties rose from one wounded in the first deployment to 20 wounded in the second, including two Seabees killed in action. This didn't deter "The First and The Finest" from working on all forms of vertical and horizontal construction. These projects included the re-building and refurbishment of 32 bridges along Route One north of Da Nang, the construction of Camp Evans for the 4th Marine Regiment north of Hue City, completing a Caribou runway at Thien Phouc, and building a 400-foot timber bridge at Dai Loc. NMCB ONE returned to homeport in mid-December 1967 for a well-deserved rest.

The 700 men of NMCB ONE began their third deployment to the Republic of Vietnam on May 5, 1968. This time the Battalion's home was Camp Hoover, also outside of Da Nang. Construction work was handed over from NMCB NINE on facilities for the 3rd Military Police Battalion, a power distribution system, a "Big Look" complex, aircraft revetments for the 138th Army Aviation Group, and a headquarters building for the 30th Naval Construction Regiment. Work also commenced on new projects, including a bank vault, a communications center, transient barracks, ten guard towers, and rehabilitation of the 111 MAF Brig. A permanent detachment, Echo, was established at Phu Loc to run the quarry and rock crusher operation there.

On August 1, 1968, NMCB ONE was given a deadline of 30 days to construct a helicopter facility for the Army's 478th Aviation Company. Despite the loss of six days to impossible working conditions and enemy alerts, the facility was completed on time - another testimony to the "Can Do!" spirit of the Seabees. On August 28, Detail Charlie was sent north to Quang Tri, to build troop facilities before the monsoon set in. In 44 days the detachment built 189 living huts, 35 messhalls, 55 strongback tents, and 11 dispensaries.

Another detachment, Detail Whiskey, aided the 7th Engineers, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, to construct the Da Nang Barrier, a 500-meter wide "no man's land" designed to stop enemy infiltration. Still another detachment, Foxtrot, was responsible for the repair and restoration of four railroad bridges, opening a railway that had been crippled for four years. However, the Battalion's accomplishments weren't without cost. NMCB ONE lost two more men, killed in action.

NMCB ONE concluded its tour of duty and returned to Davisville on January 26, 1969. Following a five-month recovery and training cycle, the Battalion left homeport In July for its fourth consecutive deployment to the Republic of Vietnam. Arriving at Camp Campbell, Phu Bai in July 1969, the Battalion again turned to the task on contingency construction. On August 8, 1969, the Battalion celebrated its 20th year of continuous active service. During the following months it completed various construction projects in support of the war effort.

The Battalion concluded its fourth and final tour of duty in Vietnam in March of 1970. Over the course of four deployments NMCB ONE carried on the "Can Do!" tradition that has become the Seabee legacy and served with distinction, valor and honor. For its service in Vietnam the Battalion earned three Navy Unit Commendations, one Meritorious Unit Commendation, four Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citations (Gallantry Cross), the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Civic Actions), and was awarded eight Vietnam Campaign Medals. Four members of NMCB ONE made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country in Vietnam. They were SW3 John K. Williams (Hai Van Pass, August 9, 1967), CN Blair W. Starkey (Hai Van Pass, August 28, 1967), BUC Walter W. McGinn (Da Nang, September 12, 1968), and Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Arthur D. Moscrip, Jr. (Da Nang, September 13, 1968).

After returning from Vietnam and spending a few short months back in Davisville, NMCB ONE deployed to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. While working on various projects the Battalion maintained its required readiness as the Atlantic Fleet Alert Battalion.

In November 1971, NMCB ONE deployed to Diego Garcia Atoll, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The Battalion deployed in support of Project Reindeer Station, the most extensive construction project undertaken by Seabees in recent years. Beneficial occupancy of the transmitter and receiver buildings was achieved in June 1972, meeting a CNO-established milestone for the project. In recognition of its accomplishments, NMCB ONE was awarded the 1972 Atlantic Fleet Battle "E" Award for best of Type, and subsequently was awarded the Peltier Award as the best Naval Mobile Construction Battalion in the Naval Construction Force.

NMCB ONE became the first occupant of Camp Covington, Guam, when they deployed to the island in February 1973. Details in San Miguel, Republic of the Philippines, Adak, Alaska, Midway Island, Yap, Palau, and Camp David made the Battalion's presence around the world a notable one.

On March 20, 1974, NMCB ONE became the last Battalion to make a deployment from NCBC Davisville, RI. NMCB ONE left Davisville for Rota, Spain, never to return to the Seabee Center. During the Rota deployment details were sent to Holy Loch, Edzell, and Machrinhanish, Scotland; Nea Makri, Greece; Souda Bay, Crete; and Sigonella, La Maddelena, Sardinia, and Gaeta, Italy.

Returning from deployment in November 1974, the Battalion settled down in its new home, NCBC Gulfport, Mississippi. NMCB ONE deployed once again in May 1975, this time to Okinawa. Details were located at Misawa, Iwakuni, Atsugi, and Yokosuka, Japan; San Miguel and Cubi Point, Philippines; Taipei, Taiwan; and Diego Garcia, BIOT. In addition, a team of Seabees was assigned to Palau, Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, to carry out civic action projects.

The Battalion's next deployment was to the Caribbean. NMCB ONE deployed to Camp Moscrip, Puerto Rico, in the summer of 1976. Camp Moscrip was named in honor of LTJG Arthur D. Moscrip, Jr., who was killed in Vietnam during NMCB ONE's third deployment there. Detail sites for this deployment were Vieques Island; Sabana Seca; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Andros Island, Bahamas. A 10-man team was sent to Guatemala as part of an earthquake disaster recovery program, and a 43-man team was sent to Diego Garcia.

After completing a successful homeport session back in Gulfport, NMCB ONE deployed to Guam in October 1977. Details were sent to Midway Island; Adak, Alaska; and Diego Garcia. A Civic Action Team (CAT) initially deployed to Kasrae Island, then continued on to Palau. The Battalion also weathered Typhoon Kim, and provided disaster recovery assistance following the storm. During this deployment the Battalion received a Resolution of Appreciation from the Guam Legislature for its participation in community assistance programs.

NMCB ONE returned to Rota, Spain, in November 1978. Details were established at Nea Makri, Greece; Sigonella, Italy; Holy Loch, Scotland; and Diego Garcia.

Following a successful training session in homeport, NMCB ONE deployed to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, in late summer 1979. Details were sent to Sabana Seca and Vieques Island; Andros Island and Antiqua, Bahamas; Gitmo; Argentia, Newfoundland; Diego Garcia; and a CAT to Yap.

In March 1981, the Battalion deployed to the island of Diego Garcia. This marked the second time that the entire battalion had deployed to the island, even though detail sites had been maintained there during most all of the deployments since 1971. Again, due to its efforts during the Diego Garcia deployment, NMCB ONE received the Battle "E" Award and the Peltier Award.

NMCB ONE deployed to Guam again in April 1982. During this deployment the Battalion's Commanding Officer was presented with the "Ancient Order of the Chamorri," an honor rarely bestowed on a non-resident of the American Territory, in appreciation for the Battalion's service to the people of the island. The Battalion also was recognized by the Guam Legislature, the Municipal Planning Council, and the Commissioner of Agana Heights for service to the people of Guam.

After returning to homeport, the Battalion was recognized for the outstanding accomplishment of the Air Detachment, serving as the first to operate out of NCBC Gulfport on an "operational readiness-type basis" for Contingency Construction Crew Training.

The 1983-84 deployment to Rota, Spain began in September 1983. NMCB ONE established details in Sigonella, Sicily; Nea Makri, Greece; Holy Loch, Scotland; Naples, Italy; and Souda Bay, Crete. In November 1983 a 42-man detail was formed and ordered to Beirut, Lebanon, to support U.S. Marines stationed there as part of the Multinational Peace-Keeping Force. The detail was later enlarged to 82 men. In December 1983 NMCB ONE received the Golden Anchor Award for the highest retention rate in the deploying battalion category.

The Battalion deployed to Okinawa in December 1984, with detail sites at Sasebo, Iwakuni, Fuji, and Kamiseya, Japan; Adak, Alaska; and a CAT on Yap. In October 1985, after returning to homeport, NMCB ONE received another Battle "E" Award as Atlantic Fleet best of type.

In December 1985 the Battalion left for Camp Moscrip, Puerto Rico. Detail sites were established at Guantanamo Bay; Andros Island, Bahamas; Vieques Island, Panama; and Crane, Indiana. During this deployment two special details were formed and deployed to Central America. A well-drilling team assisted in drought relief, while the other team refurbished and built piers for the Honduran Navy.

The Battalion returned to homeport in August 1986 and began training for their next deployment, to Okinawa. In December 1986 NMCB ONE successfully carried out a two-week Air Detachment mount-out exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

In March 1987 the Battalion left for Okinawa. While deployed, the Air Detachment participated in exercise Team Spirit '87, in P'ohang, South Korea, and the main body conducted extensive training in mountain combat skills. Details were sent to Yokosuka, Sasebo, and Iwakuni, Japan; Adak, Alaska; and a CAT on Yap.

After returning to NCBC Gulfport in November 1987, the Battalion conducted cold-weather training in February 1988. This training took place at Fort Drum, New York.

NMCB ONE deployed to Rota, Spain in May 1988. Details were sent to Edzell and Holy Loch, Scotland; Bermuda; and Bahrain. A detail was also sent to Honduras for three months, and a support cruise was made to the West African coast. While in Rota, the Battalion worked on over 40 projects, including a Correctional Custody Unit, an amphitheater, a youth center, and a major parking lot renovation project.

After another successful homeport session, NMCB ONE deployed to Camp Covington, Guam, in June 1988, with details established at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines; Midway Island; Diego Garcia; and a CAT at Palau. Battalion projects included the Massive Fleet Hospital project in Agana, Guam. The project used over 5,550 CMU blocks and 50,000 square feet of roofing - one of the largest projects ever accomplished by a mobile construction battalion.

NMCB ONE Deployed to Rota, Spain, in August of 1990, sending details to Sigonella, Sicily; Holy Loch and Edzell, Scotland; Morocco; Naples, Italy; and Souda Bay, Crete. As a result of the buildup of forces in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield, NMCB ONE sent two details to Saudi Arabia to provide construction support for Marine forces serving in the theater. Portions of the details reunited with the Battalion in Rota on February 9, 1991, while the remainder remained in Saudi Arabia until March 3, 1991. Both details were awarded that Navy Unit Commendation for their accomplishments during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The main body had to fulfill a short-fused requirement by the Air Force for a bomb storage facility to support B-52 operations at Moron, Spain. Subsequently the Battalion was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for it's accomplishments over the deployment. NMCB ONE also received its second consecutive Golden Anchor Award for excellence in retention.

In October 1991, the Battalion again deployed to Camp Covington, Guam, with Details at Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines and Diego Garcia. In addition, a Civic Action Team was dispatched to the Republic of Palau. Upon arriving at Guam, the Battalion received notification that it had received the 1991 Battle 'E'. More recognition would follow, as the Battalion received an unprecedented third Golden Anchor Award. During the deployment NMCB ONE weathered a super typhoon and provided emergency assistance during the disaster recovery operations. In December, the Battalion deployed a detail to American Samoa to provide disaster recovery relief in the aftermath of Typhoon Val. For their relief efforts, the detail was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal.

After returning from Guam in May 1992, the Battalion dispatched almost 200 personnel and over 150 pieces of equipment to South Florida for a relief mission in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in August. Their efforts in disaster recovery, which included rebuilding several schools, earned the Battalion a Humanitarian Service Medal and a personal letter of thanks from President George Bush.

The Battalion deployed to Rota, Spain in December 1992, and almost immediately received orders to redeploy to Somalia to join U.S. and U.N. forces taking part in Operation Restore Hope. The Battalion arrived in Mogadishu on December 27 and moved inland, establishing five separate camps throughout the country. NMCB ONE provided military and camp construction support to U.S. and international forces as well as civic action support to Somali villages. While the bulk of the Battalion operated in Somalia, the 50-man Detail at Souda Bay, Crete continued its original tasking. It received the rest of its personnel when the Battalion returned to Rota. For its efforts NMCB ONE was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In January 1993, the Battalion received its fourth consecutive Golden Anchor Award.

NMCB ONE deployed to Guam in February 1994, sending details to Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory; San Clemente Island, California; and a Civic Action Team to the Republic of Palau. A major part of the Battalion's tasking was helping to prepare for ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Guam. Some of the projects included the construction of the War Dog Cemetery, the Seabee Monument, Marine Barracks Monument Walk, and the Prisoner of War Amphitheater. The Seabees have a long-standing presence on Guam dating back to the liberation, and NMCB ONE was proud to take part in preparing for the celebration.

The Battalion began its next European Deployment in April 1995, deploying to Rota, Spain with Details in Souda Bay, Crete; Naples, Italy; Sigonella, Sicily; Edzell, Scotland; and Thurmont, Maryland. Two Deployments-for-Training were also sent out during the deployment, to Tunisia and Albania. The deployment was successfully completed with NMCB ONE earning the Battle 'E' for that year.

During the next deployment to Camp Covington, Guam, in June 1996, NMCB ONE was given a short-fused requirement to provide construction and camp maintenance support for the relocation of 7,000 Kurdish refugees. Operation Pacific Haven provided relief for the Kurds, who were fleeing oppression in Iraq. NMCB ONE also responded to several natural disasters, including range fires and floods at Fallon, Nevada; a bridge collapse in Palau; and a tornado in Lemoore, California.

When NMCB ONE deployed to Rota in September 1997, another contingency operation was waiting. 180 personnel and over 100 pieces of equipment were sent to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Guard. NMCB ONE provided military and construction support for the NATO peacekeeping forces. Concurrently, the Battalion manned sites in Italy, Crete, the United Kingdom, and Camp David. Deployments-for-Training were also sent to Germany, Romania, and Norway. In recognition of its accomplishments in 1997, NMCB ONE was awarded the Battle 'E' and Peltier Awards, and the Meritorious Unit Citation.

In December 2000, NMCB ONE sent a 97-person detachment to Kosovo in support of Task Force Falcon. During their 2000-01 European deployment, the battalion set a NCF record by SCWS qualifying 271 Seabees.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list