Naval Construction Battalion Center [NCBC] Gulfport
Naval Construction Battalion Center [NCBC] Gulfport functions as a support for operating units of the Naval Construction Force. Specifically, it supports Naval Mobile Construction Battalions ONE, SEVEN, SEVENTY-FOUR, and ONE THIRTY-THREE, TWENTIETH Naval Construction Regiment, the Naval Construction Training Center, and other smaller tenant activities. The mission is to prepare for and support all facets of the mobilization of construction forces, including reserve units. The Center is also responsible for preservation and storage of war reserves including construction equipment and materials.
Gulfport was first established as a Advanced Base Depot on June 2, 1942 in Gulfport. The first Seabees were civilian construction workers who enlisted early in World War II to continue building for the Navy in the Pacific Theater and in Europe. The mission of the Center changed in March 1944 from a receiving organization to a U.S. Naval Training Center, and provided for training for base engineering, diesel, radioman, quartermaster and electrician's ratings. Realignments then created a single command of the Naval Training Center and the Advanced Base Depot. The depot became the U.S. Naval Storehouse in 1945 and the training center was decommissioned in 1946. In 1948 the station became custodian of national stockpile materials.
America's long range defense plans in the early stages of World War II called for an uncongested deep water port to serve the Caribbean area. Gulfport offered this plus a moderate, semi-tropical year-round climate which permitted training and out-loading winter and summer.
On June 2, 1942, an Advanced Base Depot was established in Gulfport and the first Seabees started coming through Gulfport. In 1992, the Center celebrated its 50th Anniversary on the Gulf Coast where Gulf Coast residents and thousands of Seabees have sung the praises of the Gulfport Seabee Center loud and long and, today, the Seabees occupy a special place in the scheme of things throughout the mid-South.
Land for the installation was acquired on a plot a mile northwest of the Port of Gulfport in April 1942, and an Advanced Base Depot was established two months later. An Armed Guard School and a Cooks and Bakers School were added in October 1942, followed by an Advanced Base Receiving Barracks in November, at which time some of the first Seabees were stationed on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The mission of the Center changed from a receiving organization to a U.S. Naval Training Center in March 1944, and provided for training in basic engineering, diesel, radioman, quartermaster and electrician's ratings.
Continuing realignments occurred creating a single command of the Naval Training Center and the Advanced Base Depot. The Depot became the U.S. Naval Storehouse in 1945 and the training center was decommissioned in 1946. In 1948, the station became custodian of certain national stockpile materials. Bauxite, tin, copper, sisal and abaca have been stored here in varying quantities since that time. Huge piles of bauxite, the imported ore from which aluminum is extracted, covers an estimated 24 of the Center's 1098 acres.
There were times when some 25,000 Naval personnel were stationed at the Center. They lived in wooden barracks, tents and quonset huts. Population between the late 1940s and early 1960s dropped to four or five enlisted personnel and four or five commissioned officers. Civilian employees fluctuated with the amount of strategic supplies and construction equipment being received, stored and trans-shipped.
Some important organizational changes were made early in 1952 when the Naval Storehouse was disestablished and the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Center was established. The Navy's mushrooming commitments for construction forces in Southeast Asia led the way to an increased mission for the Center in February 1966. Ten months later, the Center had expanded to include new functions such as Seabee Team Training and a new tenant, Construction Training Unit. The staff for the Naval Construction Battalion Center had expanded to 183 military and 523 civilian personnel to support approximately 4,200 Seabees. A personnel training facility, inactive for 20 years, was effectively forming, staging, training and homeporting first two, then five, seven and now four mobile construction battalions.
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