Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWENTY-THREE
"The Blue and Gray"
As a member of the UNITED STATES NAVAL CONSTRUCTION FORCES, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWENTY-THREE (NMCB 23) is one of the Reserve elements that covers a specific geographical area in either the Commander in Chief Pacific's or the Commander in Chief Atlantic's Area of Responsibility. This unit's oveall mission is to maintain miltary readiness, while performing construction taskings for the 2nd Naval Construction Brigade.
The 23rd Battalion was commissioned on 1 September, 1942 as Naval Construction Battalion 23 (NCB 23). A month later, it was sent to the West Coast for embarkation for the war in the Northern Pacific, building and defending numerous bases in the Aleutian Islands chain including Kodiak Navla Base and Naval installations at Adak, Kiska, and Dutch Harbor. NCB 23 eventually moved to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Guam, its final wartime destination. In 1945, after the war ended, NCB 23 was decommissioned.
The 23rd was recommissioned in 1961 as Reserve Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 23 (RNMCB23). Its first commanding officer was Commander Jerome Wyble ant its first Permanent Drill Site (not call Readiness Support Site) was located at the U. S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland. RNMCB 23 remained at this site until its move to Fort Belvoir, Virginia in November, 1977. Its new headquarters buildings were decicated in 1979 and have serve as the "homeport" for the battalion ever since.
After its recommissoning in 1961 as an RNMCB, the 23rd repeatedly distinguished itself in both military and civilian service achievement while preparing for its military construction mission. Over the years, the 23rd was recognized as "Best of Type" by the Commander, Reserve Naval Construction Force and the SECOND Naval Construction Brigade a total of nine times - more than any other NMCB. The 23rd has also won the coveted RADM John R. Perry Award, a distinction making the best of 17 reserve battalions, seven times.
The 23rd's record, combined with its high state of mobilization readiness, led to its recall to active duty status in direct support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. At this time RNMCB 23 became Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 23 (NMCB 23), without the "Reserve" in its name. The 23rd mobilized at Camp Hueneme, California to once again embark for the Pacific Theater. The 23rd deployed to Camp Covington, Guam, and subsequently to Camp Shields, Okinawa from November, 1990 through June, 1991. Details were also deployed to Adak, Alaska, Midway Island, Sasebo, Misawa and Kami-Seya, Japan and Pohang, Korea. As a NMCB, the 23rd again served with distinction, providing contingency construction, disaster recovery, and community service supporting the Pacific Region. NMCB 23 was was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal as a unit for its assistance to Typhoon Russ victims on Guam in December, 1990 while deployed there.
Those who have served with NCB 23, RNMCB 23, and NMCB 23 in the past and those continuing to serve today share a common bond to devotion to duty to their country, and to their fellow SEABEEs. THe 23rd will continue to exemplify the "Can Do" Spirit as it continues to preserve its distinct place in the history of Naval Construction Forces.
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