Naval Mobile Construction Battalion SEVEN
The history of the Seabees dates back to the beginning of America's involvement in World War II when Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, then Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks, was authorized to organize Construction Battalions in support of the long march to Tokyo and Berlin. The name "Seabee" evolved from the pronunciation of the initials "CB" for Construction Battalion.
United States Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) SEVEN, one of the original ten battalions authorized, was commissioned on June 17, 1942 at the Naval Construction Training Center, Camp Allen, Norfolk, Virginia, under the command of Commander Julius L. Piland, Civil Engineer Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve.
During World War II, SEVEN saw deployments to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides; Iroquois Point, Hawaii; Marianas Islands and Okinawa, Japan, during which the battalion constructed base camps, runways, hospitals and the island infrastructure support for the advancing U.S. Marine forces. SEVEN was decommissioned in October 1945.
On August 22, 1951, NMCB SEVEN was commissioned for a second time at the U.S. Naval Yards and Docks Supply Depot in Davisville, Rhode Island, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Robert F. Smart, Civil Engineer Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve.
For the next 19 years, NMCB SEVEN served our country in Korea, the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific theaters. In October 1957, NMCB SEVEN deployed to the West Indies, completing the largest construction project ever undertaken by a peace time Atlantic Construction Battalion. This project, consisting of two complete Coast Guard LORAN Stations, stands today as but one testimony of the past accomplishments of NMCB SEVEN.
In 1961 the battalion was ordered to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in support of the base's ground defense force. In addition to the defense mission, NMCB SEVEN, together with her sister battalion NMCB FOUR, constructed more than 20 miles of perimeter roads and other base facilities in record time. For its outstanding performance, NMCB SEVEN was selected "Best of Type" in the Atlantic Fleet and awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" for fiscal year 1963.
By 1966, NMCB SEVEN was again building and fighting, this time in the Republic of South Vietnam, until her decommissioning at the Construction Battalion Center, Davisville, Rhode Island, in August 1970.
U. S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion SEVEN was commissioned for a third time on August 1, 1985 on board NCBC at Gulfport, Mississippi. The commissioning marked the first time in over 17 years that a new construction battalion had been brought on line.
Since 1985, NMCB SEVEN has deployed to Rota, Spain; Sigonella, Sicily; Camp Covington, Guam; Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; Okinawa, Japan; and the Middle East, with detail sites throughout the world.
In 1986, two major projects undertaken by the Mainbody in Guam earned NMCB SEVEN a Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation. A LORAN "C" station was completed on time for the Coast Guard to provide vital navigational aid to ships and aircraft in the Pacific area. Groundwork for a Fleet Hospital was started which included placement of more than 1,500 yards of concrete.
On September 18, 1989, Hurricane Hugo ripped through the Caribbean Islands causing millions of dollars of damage and generating thousands of hours of disaster recovery work for NMCB SEVEN. The work that NMCB SEVEN accomplished to bring life back to normal for the people of the Caribbean Islands shows why they were selected as "Best of Type for 1989" and were awarded the Peltier Award for best active construction battalion in the Naval Construction Force.
On August 8, 1990, the Battalion was ordered to mobilize for redeployment to the Middle East in direct support of Operation "Desert Shield." A 25-man detail was sent to Administrative Support Unit Bahrain to perform construction support and public works operations, and a 90-man detail was sent to Jubail, Saudi Arabia to assist in construction of a 15,000 man tent camp.
In 1994, NMCB SEVEN's Deployment-for-Training (DFT) Colombia earned a Navy Unit Commendation for its work building riverine combat bases for Colombian Marines.
During NMCB SEVEN's 1995 Pacific deployment, the sixty-nine members of Detail Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, acted as part of Joint Task Force 160 to build facilities to house 26,000 Cuban and Haitian migrants. Joint Task Force 160 received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for its accomplishments.
While deployed in the Caribbean in 1996, NMCB SEVEN fielded an unprecedented fourteen details throughout the Caribbean, the United States, and Central America. Notably, Seabees from NMCB SEVEN took part in the United States' mission in Haiti, performing humanitarian assistance work to improve the quality of life for Haitian citizens. Also, the Seabees of the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN closed out Panama as a detail site for Caribbean Seabees, reopened a detail site at Andros Island in the Bahamas, and provided construction support to the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
From April 1997 to November 1997, NMCB-7 deployed to the Western Pacific with its flag at Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan. Details were deployed to Atsugi, Iwakuni, Sasebo, and Yokosuka, Japan; Pohang and Seoul, Korea; Annette Island, Alaska; and Hawaii. Additionally, the battalion sent Deployments-for-Training to Chinhae, Korea, and Thailand.
In May 97, DFT Thailand embarked with 36 Seabees to Uttaradit and Phitsanulok, Thailand as part of Joint exercise "COBRA GOLD". NMCB-7 and reserve Seabees from NMCB FIFTEEN constructed two community facilities within 30 days.
In June 1998 to January 1999 NMCB-7 deployed to Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico and fielded details and detachments throughout the Caribbean and Central America. On September 23, 1998, Hurricane Georges fell on the Caribbean Islands causing millions of dollars of damage and generating thousands of hours of disaster recovery work for NMCB SEVEN. In response to requests for support, generators and water trucks were taken to nearby cities and damage assessment teams were sent to the local islands.
A month after the clean up of Georges, SEVEN rapidly deployed from Puerto Rico to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras in support of Hurricane Mitch disaster relief efforts in Central America. Mitch left more than 10,000 people dead, destroyed communications, and wiped out roads leading to areas where thousands were reported missing. The Seabees deployed with capabilities to conduct engineer reconnaissance, repair roads and bridges, clear debris, remove bridges and build base camps. SEVEN was the first Navy element to arrive in Central America taking part in their second humanitarian mission on the deployment.
U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion SEVEN has earned a reputation for excellence and professionalism during their 57 years of existence. The proud tradition that is represented by its "Can Do" spirit is as much a part of the "MAGNIFICENT SEVEN" today as it was with their predecessors. The officers, men and women look forward to maintaining the proud heritage of the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN in the years ahead whenever and wherever our country may need them.
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