With a title like that, today’s blog post is a great one! Focusing on the Seabeas, or the United States Navy Construction Battalions, these units have origins back to the beginning of America and to the present day.
These units perform lifting and constructing needed by the navy. Runways, port facilities, building and other construction needs are all part of their daily duties, in addtional to combat!
Sometimes in history, it’s easy to concentrate only on the fighting, battles and exciting yet dangerous things. However, military life is not all combat. You need cooks, supply guys, mechanics, and in this case Seabees!
Formed in the years of the Depression, the Seabees were initially a hybrid outfit, somewhere between civilian and military. This idea was soon proved bothersome, with command divided between engineering and military units. So in the fall of 1941, the first initial “all military” Seabee unit was formed and in training. By 1942, the designation was official.
With a long and storied history of building and fighting, the Seabees have quite some tales to tell. Places and stories include Japan, the Soviet Union and Korea. Here’s one that’s come to be known as “The Great Seabee Train Robbery.” The backstory on this is as follows:
On 15 September 1950 U.S. troops landed at Inchon in what has come to be known as one of the most brilliant amphibious assaults in history. Seabees achieved renown as the men who made it possible. Battling enormous thirty-foot tides and a swift current while under continuous enemy fire, they positioned pontoon causeways within hours of the first beach assault. Following the landing, the incident known as the “Great Seabee Train Robbery” took place. The need to break the equipment bottleneck at the harbor inspired a group of Seabees to steal behind enemy lines and capture some abandoned locomotives. Despite enemy mortar fire, they brought the engines back intact and turned them over to the Army Transportation Corps….” (3)
What a history! It’s interesting to note things that are sometimes easily overlooked, especially when they are not dealing with combat history! I’ve assembled some good links today, both to Seabee information as well as some things from the Naval Historical Center. It’s worth taking a look at if you have a few minutes!
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Have a great day, see you tomorrow!