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Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FORTY
"Fighting Forty"

The Seabees' motto "We Build, We Fight" is no more exemplified than with US Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FORTY - the "Fighting FORTY."

Under the command of CDR I. S. Rasmusson, "Fighting FORTY" was established in October 1942 and quickly gained its reputation as one exemplifying valor and devotion in time of war, hard work and humanitarian endeavors in time of peace.

This reputation was initially dramatized by its heroics at Los Negros Island, in the Admiralities.

On March 2, 1943, an advance party of NMCB FORTY landed. Its task was to rehabilitate the Momote airstrip which was captured by the U. S. Army only two days before. A Japanese counterattack took place on March 3 and 4, 1943. FORTY's Advance Party was ordered into the defense perimeter. Under sprays of enemy fire, Seabees scooped out 300 yards of runway and taxiway. "Fighting FORTY" performed their mission but was left with nine dead and 47 wounded after two nights and three days of fierce battle.

In November 1945, FORTY was disestablished and remained so for 21 years. In February 1966 the Battalion was reestablished for duty at Chu Lai, Vietnam, under the command of CDR Ben L. Saravia.

After successfully completing its base operations support mission for the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force, FORTY returned to the U. S. In August 1967 where is received the "Battle Efficiency" pennant for its outstanding support effort.

In October 1967, FORTY began its second Vietnam deployment. A major highlight for NMCB FORTY during this period was construction of a complete medical facility for the Republic of Korea Army detachment in Quang Ngai.

After three highly successful deployments to Vietnam, FORTY's wartime operations were completed and the Battalion turned their talents to more peaceful operations.

Peacetime construction continued for 20 years until August 1990 when FORTY was once again called upon for their wartime construction expertise. The entire Battalion, under the command of CDR J. R. Doyle, was mobilized to the hot sands of Saudi Arabia to support Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During the troop build-up, FORTY spurred visions of old as they set about moving over 1,000,000 cubic yards of sand, constructing two Ammunition Supply Depots, maintaining 200 miles of desert road, as well as providing critical construction support for U. S. And Allied installations in the theatre.

With the arrival of the first nine-man team on December 10, 1992, NMCB FORTY provided construction support to the forces of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. After the January 24, 1993, arrival of the Battalion's main body, the in-country strength w as over 500 personnel. NMCB FORTY was also able to apply some of its efforts to provide direct assistance to the Somalians by building and repairing schools and orphanages.

During the last two deployments Fighting FORTY continued its proud tradition, under the command of CDR R.E. Cellon. While deployed to Spain the battalion provided invaluable support to the U. S. Forces supporting Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While deployed to Guam the crash of Korean Airlines flight 801 and Supertyphoon Paka provided further opportunities for NMCB FORTY to demonstrate its excellence, and the necessity of a well trained, immediate action construction force.

From the Pacific Islands during World War II, to the jungles of Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, the scorching sands of Somalia and beyond, NMCB FORTY stands guard in a world that challenges freedom. The heroic spirit and "Can Do" cry of Fighting FORTY is perpetuated in its Seabees today.

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 deployed a number of Seabees to Indonesia where they arrive on Jan. 11 2005 to join the ranks of U.S. military troops providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the wake of the massive devastation that had resulted in the deaths of more than 150,000 people and displaced a million more. Over the next few weeks, NMCB 40 was likely to deploy more Seabees forward to effect humanitarian assistance for the people of Indonesia.

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