NCB 103 publishes a Newsletter, available here: December 2018 NCB 103 Newsletter. Another great Newsletter from Wayne Heple.
Seabees pouring concrete for the lower water reservoir pad at Cubi Point, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands. This medal was issued for the 25th Anniversary of the Seabees.
The image at left was taken from a photograph of the Seabees pouring concrete for the lower level reservoir for the Cubi Point project. The medallion was sculpted by Felix de Weldon (a former Seabee) from that photograph. All men are MCB 2 and LCdr. Hark Ketels (BU 3 at the time) is second from left in the photograph and on the medal.
There's much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about us. The history of Subic Bay construction and lots of photos at the bottom of this page helps to tell the story of the Seabees in the Philippines and Korea.
The Subic Bay project was begun by MCB 3 in August 1950 and MCB 2 joined them in September 1952. Also working on this project were MCB 5, MCB 9 and MCB 11 until the work was completed and the Subic Bay Naval Station was commissioned July 1956.
Group photo of the Seabees working at
K-3 Korea (Pohang-dong) in support of the First Marine Air Wing (FMAW) .
Group photo of the Seabees working at
K-6 Korea (Pyong-taek) in support of the First Marine Air Wing (FMAW).
After the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States entry into the war, the use of civilian labor in war zones became impractical. Under international law civilians were not permitted to resist enemy military attack. Resistance meant summary execution as guerrillas. The need for a militarized Naval Construction Force to build advance bases in the war zone was self-evident. Therefore, Rear Admiral Ben Moreell determined to activate, organize, and man Navy construction units. On 28 December 1941, he requested specific authority to carry out this decision, and on 5 January 1942, he gained authority from the Bureau of Navigation to recruit men from the construction trades for assignment to a Naval Construction Regiment composed of three Naval Construction Battalions.
This is the actual beginning of the renowned Seabees, who obtained their designation from the initial letters of Construction Battalion. Admiral Moreell personally furnished them with their official motto: Construimus, Batuimus -- "We Build, We Fight." An urgent problem confronting the Bureau of Yards and Docks was who should command the construction battalions. By Navy regulations, military command of naval personnel was limited to line officers. Yet it was deemed essential that the newly established construction battalions should be commanded by officers of the Civil Engineer Corps who were trained in the skills required for the performance of construction work. The bureau proposed that the necessary command authority should be bestowed on its Civil Engineer Corps officers. However, the Bureau of Naval Personnel (successor to the Bureau of Navigation) strongly objected to this proposal. Despite this opposition, Admiral Moreell personally presented the question to the Secretary of the Navy. On 19 March 1942, after due deliberation, the Secretary gave authority for officers of the Civil Engineer Corps to exercise military authority over all officers and enlisted men assigned to construction units.
The Secretary's decision, which was incorporated in Navy regulations, removed a major roadblock in the conduct of Seabee operations. Of equal importance, it constituted a very significant morale booster for Civil Engineer Corps officers because it provided a lawful command authority status that tied them intimately into combat operations, the primary reason for the existence of any military force. From all points of view, Admiral Moreell's success in achieving this end contributed ultimately to the great success and fame of the Seabees. With authorization to establish construction battalions at hand and the question of who was to command the Seabees settled, the Bureau of Yards and Docks was confronted with the problem of recruiting, enlisting, and training Seabees, and then organizing the battalions and logistically supporting them in their operations. Plans for accomplishing these tasks were not available.
Workable Plans were quickly developed, however, and because of the exigencies of the war much improvising was done. The first Seabees were not raw recruits when they voluntarily enlisted. Emphasis in recruiting them was placed on experience and skill, so all they had to do was adapt their civilian construction skills to military needs. To obtain men with the necessary qualifications, physical standards were less rigid than in other branches of the armed forces.
The age range for enlistment was 18-50, but after the formation of the initial battalions, it was discovered that several men past 60 had managed to join up, clearly an early manifestation of Seabee ingenuity. During the early days of the war, the average age of Seabees was 37. After December 1942 voluntary enlistments were halted by orders of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and men for the construction battalions had to be obtained through the Selective Service System. Henceforward, Seabees were on average much younger and came into the service with only rudimentary skills. The first recruits were the men who had helped to build Boulder Dam, the national highways, and New York's skyscrapers; who had worked in the mines and quarries and dug the subway tunnels; who had worked in shipyards and built docks and wharfs and even ocean liners and aircraft carriers. By the end of the war, 325,000 such men had enlisted in the Seabees.
They knew more than 60 skilled trades, not to mention the unofficial ones of souvenir making and "moonlight procurement." Nearly 11,400 officers joined the Civil Engineer Corps during the war, and 7,960 of them served with the Seabees. At Naval Construction Training Centers and Advanced Base Depots established on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Seabees were taught military discipline and the use of light arms. Although technically support troops, Seabees at work, particularly during the early days of base development in the Pacific, frequently found themselves in conflict with the enemy. After completing three weeks of boot training at Camp Allen, and later at its successor, Camp Peary, both in Virginia, the Seabees were formed into construction battalions or other types of construction units. Some of the very first battalions were sent overseas immediately upon completion of boot training because of the urgent need for naval construction. The usual procedure, however, was to ship the newly-formed battalion to an Advanced Base Depot at either Davisville, Rhode Island, or Port Hueneme, California.
There the battalions, and later other units, underwent staging and outfitting. The Seabees received about six weeks of advanced military and technical training, underwent considerable unit training, and then were shipped to an overseas assignment. About 175,000 Seabees were staged directly through Port Hueneme during the war. As the war proceeded, battle-weary construction battalions and other units in the Pacific were returned to the United States to the Construction Battalion Recuperation and Replacement Center at Camp Parks, Shoemaker, California. At Camp Parks, battalions were reformed and reorganized, or as was the case in several instances, the battalions were simply decommissioned and the men assigned to other battalions. Seabees were given 30-day leaves and also plenty of time for rest and recuperation. Eligible men were frequently discharged at Camp Parks. On a much smaller scale, the Advance Base Receiving Barracks at Davisville, Rhode Island, performed similar functions for Atlantic battalions.
The construction battalion, the fundamental unit of the Seabee organization, comprised four companies that included the necessary construction skills for doing any job, plus a headquarters company consisting of medical and dental professionals and technicians, administrative personnel, storekeepers, cooks, and similar specialists. The complement of a standard battalion originally was set at 32 officers and 1,073 men, but from time to time the complement varied in number. As the war progressed and construction projects became larger and more complex, more than one battalion frequently had to be assigned to a base. For efficient administrative control, these battalions were organized into a regiment, and when necessary, two or more regiments were organized into a brigade, and as required, two or more brigades were organized into a naval construction force.
For example, 55,000 Seabees were assigned to Okinawa and the battalions were organized into 11 regiments and 4 brigades, which, in turn, were all under the command of the Commander, Construction Troops, who was a Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, Commodore Andrew G. Bisset. Moreover, his command also included 45,000 United States Army engineers, aviation engineers, and a few British engineers. He therefore commanded 100,000 construction troops in all, the largest concentration of construction troops during the entire war. Although the Seabees began with the formation of regular construction battalions only, the Bureau of Yards and Docks soon realized the need for special-purpose units. While the battalion itself was versatile enough to handle almost any project, it would have been a wasteful use of men to assign a full battalion to a project that could be done equally well by a smaller group of specialists. The first departure from the standard battalion was the special construction battalion, or as it was commonly known, the Seabee Special.
These special battalions were composed of stevedores and longshoremen who were badly needed to break a bottleneck in the unloading of ships in combat zones. Their officers, drawn largely from the Merchant Marine and personnel of stevedoring companies, were commissioned in the Civil Engineer Corps. The enlisted men were trained practically from scratch, and the efficiency of their training was demonstrated by the fact that cargo handling in combat zones compared favorably to that in the most efficient ports in the United States. Another smaller, specialized unit within the Seabee organization was the construction battalion maintenance unit, which was about one-quarter the size of a regular construction battalion. It was organized to take over the maintenance of a base after a regular battalion had completed construction and moved on to its next assignment. Still another specialized Seabee unit was the construction battalion detachment, ranging in size from 6 to 600 men, depending on the specialized nature of its function. These detachments did everything from operating tire-repair shops to dredges.
A principal use for them, however, was the handling, assembling, launching, and placing of pontoon causeways. Additional specialized units were the motor trucking battalions, the pontoon assembly detachments that manufactured pontoons in forward areas, and petroleum detachments comprised of experts in the installation of pipelines and petroleum facilities. In the Second World War, the Seabees were organized into 151 regular construction battalions, 39 special construction battalions, 164 construction battalion detachments, 136 construction battalion maintenance units, 5 pontoon assembly detachments, 54 regiments, 12 brigades, and under various designations, 5 naval construction forces.
Commissioning at Port Hueneme:
The first entry into the log for the should be dated 16 June 1950, for that day was the commissioning date for United States Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWO. The commissioning was effective 1 June, 1950. It is interesting to note that MCB-2 was the first battalion to be activated and commissioned before the outbreak of fighting in Korea. The commissioning ceremonies were held at Port Hueneme, CA 15 September 1950.
Twenty days after the commissioning ceremonies, an advance party of three officers and nine enlisted men werewinging their way westward over the Pacific toward the site of the battalion's first job. On October 12, 1950 theadvanced part arrived at Atsugi, Japan on the Island of Honshu. The airfield at Atsugi had been the major training base for Japanese Naval aviators during WW II and had been captured almost intact. It was here that General Douglas MacArthur, coming to accept the surrender of the Japanese forces in August of 1945, first set foot in Japan.
At the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the United States Army began Camp Atsugi, as it was then called, for a staging area for troops and equipment bound for the fighting. Shortly before the Seabees arrived at the field, the United States Air Forcehad statrted a program of reconstruction in order to place the base in operation for its own use.
The Seabees first place of business on the base was a portion of the Air Station adninistration building. The big task for the \advance party was to make a complete survey of all buildings and facilities at the base and estimate the amount of work to be done. This was a difficult job as all buildings were in poor repair. Steam distribution systems were inadequate and had to be revamped. The electrical distribution system had to be modernized and its capacity increased. Sewage treatment was practically non-existant. Roads on the base were in very bad shape. Only the steel skeletons of the hangars on the air strip could be salvaged. The runway itself was in the process of being rebuilt. There were no parking aprons and the taxiways had to be rebuilt.
In addition to repairing existing buildings and facilities, a number of new buildings had to be built. A new control tower and operations building was necessary. A parachute loft had to be erected, as did a photo lab building and a number of other structures necessary to house the future air facilities of the base. The job ahead seemed to get larger and larger every day.
Back at Port Hueneme, the main body of the battalion had finished their assembling their P-1 component and in the first week of November 1950. loaded the equipment and material on the USS Motgantown VIctory to be shipped to Japan. The original personnel complement for the battalion had been three officers and one hundred enlisted men. Because of the size of the project assigned to the outfit, it became necessary to increase the number of men assigned for duty to several times the original number. On 13 November 1950, the battalion boarded the USS General Randall at San Francisco and arrived at Yokohama, Japan two weeks later. The end of November saw the arrival of the main body of construction and service personnel of the battalion at Atsugi.
The first major project of the battalion was the movement of the P-1 component from the docks at Yokohama to the base at Atsugi. All hands were pressed into service and worked long and hard hours doing the job. After the major portion of the equipment had been moved to the Air Station, the different departments of the battalion set up shops and working spaces for their own use. Transportation, including drivers and mechanics; builders; utilities men; steelworkers and the supply warehouse crew installed themselves in unused warehouse hangar space. Battalion headquarters moved into an administration building of its own on the west side of the air strip. All of the thousand and one things that must be done on a job before one shovelful of dirt can be turned, or one nail driven, were completed. All that remained for work to begin was the procurement of materials and the distribution of plans for the various projects.
The major impediment to an early start in construction at Atsugi was the difficulty in obtaining materials. Most of the construction materials that the battalion required had to be obtained from the Japan Logistical Command, an Army function controlling the supply United Nations' forces in the Far East. The battalion personnel assigned to the procurement of materials were unfamiliar with the Army procedures for requisitioning, and particularly the Japanese nomenclature. Misunderstandings and mistakes were numerous. Delivery of critical materials were uncertain and substitutions were made wherever feasible so that the work could progress at the best possible rate. True Seabee improvisations came to play in many cases, and the final success of the job depended on the effort of each officer, chief, and white hat in the battalion. The cooperation necessary was freely given and accepted by all hands.
The men and officers of the battalion were poised and ready to wrestle with the gigantic job that stood before them. In January 1951, the materials started to dribble in and the projects began to take shape as the work crews got underway. New drafts of men arrived and the strength of the battalion increased day by day. Reserves recalled to active duty, regular Navy men with past construction experience, and men fresh from Boot Camp, banded together to form hard-working crews.
About half of the work to be done at Atsugi was let to contract. It was here that MCB-2 stepped into a new role: that of administering and providing inspection services on contracts let to Japanese firms. The battalion has the distinction of being one of the few construction battalions to work in conjunction with a civilian architectural and engineering firm on a project the size of Atsugi Naval Air Station. Inspectors were assigned from among the experienced men in the battalion to keep the jobs that had been contracted on a working pace.
The speed and tempo of the work increased as the year progressed. While the contract jobs were being carried to completion, the crews of the battalion were working on their assigned projects. The living area on the east side of the air strip was made ready for occupation and one of the air squadrons stationed at the base moved into the barracks in the early spring of 1951. A number of projects on the west side of the air field were underway and everyone was working long hours. A "scrounging" department was set up and soon, and items that were thought to be impossible to obtain were soon rolling into the base and onto Seabee projects.
Besides our work at Atsugi, several work assignments were given us which required both men and equipment to be sent some distance from Atsugi. The first of these jobs was at Bofu, Japan. Here, the work consisted of laying Marston matting on taxiways and patching a concrete parking apron for the First Marine Air Wing (FMAW). This job was far from pleasant, for the work was done in January of 1951, in the midst of cold rains and icy winds. When this work was completed, another detachment was sent to Korea to resurface a fighter strip for our old friends, the First Marine Air Wing (FMAW) and Marine Air Group (MAG) Thirty-three. The men who were assigned to do this work accomplished an excellent job. With the aid of Korean labor, they completely resurfaced the runway in record time. During the entire project, the airstrip was operational with jet and piston-engine fighters taking off and landing on one-half of the strip while the Seabees were working on the other half. Upon completion of this work, the men received a commendation from the FMAW.
During the summer months of 1951, a detachment of men with equipment was sent to Sasebo to build storage areas for the use of the Naval facilities at that port. Early in April 1951, several draftsmen were sent to Commander Naval Forces Far East, Tokyo, to help out on urgent work to be done by that command. In the short period of time the battalion was in the Far East, it lent a helping hand to many outfits, both Navy and Marine. We also drilled wells for the Air Force and poured concrete for the Army Engineers.
A short rest was taken in August when a battalion Birthday Party was held at a nearby Japanese beach.Picnic, food, beer and soft drinks were available and a fine time was had by all.
In July 1951, the announcement of plans to release enlisted reserves affected a number of men in the battalion and made it necessary to shift a number of personnel in key positions. Many of the older experienced men in the battalion were lost in the following months, going home to the States for discharge or release to inactive duty. In July, the battalion moved across the air strip to the east camp area. This move gave us our mess hall and recreation building.
One by one, the projects slated for the Air Station were completed and accepted by the Navy. In October, the Contract Office was staffed by the Naval Air Station Public Works Department. The shift of the office released many of the men of the battalion assigned to inspector duty and allowed them to return to their respective departments within the battalion.
The last of the projects assigned to the battalion working force were completed in January 1952 and the men turned to the pleasant but difficult task of crating equipment and supplies in preparation for rotation to the States. The work of the Atsugi Naval Air Station included the construction of a number of widely different projects/ Men of the battalion built or assisted in building the following:
Aircraft parking apron and taxiway
Road surfacing and drainage
Base railroad and spur tracks
Overhead electrical distribution
Sewage disposal for the base
Steam distribution systems
Renovation of twenty different types of buildings
Inspection service on thirteen new buildings
The men of the battalion have a right to be proud of what they have done. The spirit of cooperation and unselfish devotion to duty shown by the personnel of the battalion will be remembered by the members of the battalion and those with whom they worked with for a long time to come. We are glad to be going home and looking forward to the prospects to leave with our families and friends. And so ends our first year together.
A SHORT HISTORY OF CUBI POINT
(Copy of Q-bee Pointer, Vol. III No. 5, March 5, 1955)
(Sent to me from Bill Morin - MCB 3)
Within the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment, Mobile Construction Battalions 2, 3, 5, 9, and 11 were engaged in the largest construction project ever undertaken by the Seabees. Begun in 1951, a milestone was reached on 15 May 1954 when Captain Madison Nichols, at that time Commanding Officer of the Regiment, tamped the last square foot into place, and the main 8,000-foot runway at Cubi Point was completed. To the men who witnessed this act it was a goal reached after a two-and-a-half year fight with the elements.
The Korean War emphasized the need for a Naval Air Station close to the Southeast Asia trouble spots. Congress agreed with the need to the tune of an initial seven million dollars and a prospective sixty million. Cubi Point, which juts out into Subic Bay, which is about fifty miles north of Manila, was selected as the most strategic and typhoon-sheltered location for the required combination of seaplane, land plane, and carrier operations. To the Navy Admirals, it was a natural choice and, it is submitted, the subsequent course of history has affirmed their selection.
The story starts in the summer of 1951 when Construction Battalion Detachment 1802, under LT. Randall, made an initial survey. In September 1951, Commander James Douglas, CEC, USN, stepped ashore at Cubi Point as Commanding Officer of the Philippine Construction Regiment (later re-designated Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment) to carry out that first order to move a mountain and build an airstrip. Less than a month later he was joined by Commander E.I. Mosher and the men of Mobile Construction Battalion THREE. These were the pioneers. During the ensuing year, due for arrival at Cubi Point from Port Hueneme, were Mobile Construction Battalions 2, 5, and 9, Detachment Able, Construction Battalion Detachments 1802 and 1803. Together, these units were to initiate one of the largest earthmoving projects in the world.
The first order of business involved the movement of an entire native fishing village and nearby cemetery to another area of the Naval Reservation five miles distant. Soon after, the men of MCB-3 began to clear roads, build a 600-man camp on top of a hill overlooking the proposed airstrip and carve out a reservoir and dam to assure a water supply for men and machines.
Within a month after MCB-3 disembarked, Commander H.W. Whitney, CEC, USNR, and the men of MCB-5 arrived. Thereafter, the Seabees of both battalions worked side by side constructing the airstrip, although MCB-3 had been assigned the overall supervision of airstrip construction. Meanwhile, completion of the tent camp allowed all of the men to move ashore from an API (floating barracks) where they had been temporarily berthed. This move was soon followed by assembly of a rock crusher and the beginning of quarry operations at Mancha Blanca Bluff by MCB-5. In the months to follow, the rock crusher and quarry were to produce thousands of cubic yards of crushed stone and riprap, basic materials for the construction program.
Through the sunny months of 1952, work went on at top speed to enlarge camp facilities and see to the disposition of the thousands of cubic yards of coral spewed forth by the dredge Norfolk for base course, hydraulic fill and miscellaneous projects. By 10 May 1952, enough of the strip had been constructed and graded to enable the first small airplane to land on the subgrade.
In the heavy heat of June 1952, MCB-2 arrived from Port Hueneme to pitch in. This battalion immediately took over the Mt. Maritan project, a job requiring removal of about 85 feet totaling 212,000 cubic yards of rock from the top of the mountain which was an obstruction in the glide path approach to the airstrip. Next on the list of assignments for the newcomers were the dry fill of a swamp and the erection of a temporary petroleum tank farm on the fill including the necessary pipelines, pumps, filter and pier. Construction of the pier itself was undertaken by MCB-5. This pier and other piers, sheetpile wharfs, bridges and riprap work earned MCB-5 the title of “Waterfront Gang” of Cubi Point. As of today, the temporary petroleum tank farm has been completed and turned over to the Naval Station, Subic Bay for operation.
When the project was a year old, the airstrip was a red scar across the three fingers of land where once green jungle stood undisturbed. At this point, the population jumped another 600 as MCB-9 and the second construction, or dry season, arrived simultaneously. After building their own tent area, these newcomers were assigned projects which included the permanent water supply system for the Naval Station, Subic Bay and the construction of the first three permanent Cubi Point buildings, two enlisted men’s barracks and a subsistence building. The barrack project is well along now, with both reinforced concrete shells completed and interior finishing well underway. In addition, The men of MCB-9 completer erection of a concrete block plant and a portion of the project thereof was utilized by an MCB-9 and MCB-2 detachment to build dependent housing at the Naval Station, Sangley Point, 80 miles away.
MCB-3 completed the erection of an asphaltic concrete mixing plant in January 1853. Within the next month, the paving of the airstrip began with the hot mix from this plant. Aggregate and fines used in the making of the asphalt were from the MCB-5 project at West Quarry, a source of the best quality sand and aggregate located at a point westerly across Subic Bay from Cubi Point. A separate camp was erected at West Quarry and frequent mail, supply, and liberty boats utilized to keep that camp in touch with Cubi Point, the Naval Station, Subic Bay and the liberty town of Olongapo.
On April 22, 1953, Admiral RADFORD landed on the strip and thus earned the distinction of being a passenger in the first airplane to land on the paved airstrip and the largest to land to that date, an R4D. His expression as he looked down the wide, straight swath and his avid photographing of the project revealed how impressed he was with the work that the Seabees had accomplished.
But still another phase of the Cubi Point project was started by MCB-2 during the first part of 1953, the erection of the Ammunition Area at Camayan Point. Another group of Seabees, Detachment ABLE, MCB-2 came to Cubi Point from Midway in January 1953 to supplement the personnel of MCB-2 and this group was assigned supervisory responsibility. CBD 1802, MCB-2, and Detachment ABLE and the 10th Naval Construction Brigade Detachment ABLE all contributed to the surveys of these ten-square miles of rough terrain, heavily overgrown with jungle. Meanwhile, a group of MCB-5’s waterfront gang moved out to the Camayan Point tent camp and began construction of the Ammunition Pier.
During the rainy season of 1953, Captain Madison Nichols, CEC, USN, took over as Regimental Commander, and MCB’s 2, 3, 5 and 11 arrived at Cubi Point while MCB-9 went back to the states. During the ensuing construction season, MCB-2 roughed in a super highway through the jungle from Cubi Point to Camayan Point, completed about one-fifth of the water line for the Naval Station water supply, and started construction of the permanent Cubi Point water reservoirs.
MCB-11 continued work on the permanent barracks and subsistence building, started work on a steam plant and two Public Works buildings. MCB-3, the largest battalion aboard, carried on with the largest project, airstrip construction. Briefly, this includes grading, paving and drainage of runways, taxiways, and plane parking areas and the overhaul of all heavy construction equipment.
MCB-5 started work on another important project, the carrier wharf. Still the waterfront gang, this battalion also engaged in the construction of the Camayan Point Ammunition Pier, riprap placement around the airstrip proper and construction of the seaplane ramp.
Capt. Neil E. Kingsley, CEC, USN, assumed command of the Regiment in September 1954, relieving Captain Stanley P. Zola, CEC, USN, who had succeeded Captain Nichols the previous June and is now Staff Civil Engineer with COMNAVPHIL, Officer in Charge of Construction, NOy Contracts, Philippines, and Assistant Officer in Charge of the Tenth Naval Construction Brigade. Plans having been laid for the fourth construction season, MCB-2 returned in October, relieving MCB-5. Shortly thereafter, MCB-3 relieved MCB-11. MCB-2 took over 5’s work on the carrier wharf and reported it useably complete in January.
MCB-3 continues as the earthmoving battalion, having to date brought the south taxiway up to final subgrade and currently working on the land plane parking area.
MCB-5 and MCB-9, the latter having had a year’s tour in Adak, Alaska, returned simultaneously in January, and the fourth construction season at Cubi Point began in earnest. MCB-5 continued work on the sheetpile bulkhead and is slated to commence operation on the seaplane ramp. MCB-9 has been completing the permanent barracks and subsistence building, as well as building magazines at Camayan Point.
To summarize, Cubi Point has undergone a substantial change since the first men stepped ashore into the jungle some three and a half years ago. An airstrip, a carrier wharf, ammunition pier, magazines and many of the permanent buildings for the naval air station have been constructed. By July 1, 1956 the Cubi Point Naval Air Station is expected to be useably complete and the Seabees will once again have demonstrated their “Can Do” spirit. Cubi Point is a bold experiment in training and in construction. There have been many problems and many headaches but there has also been achievements to which the Seabees can point with pride, and which are being officially displayed on 5 March, the Seabees’ 13th birthday anniversary. In this story, much has been omitted. Space is too limited to mention all the projects which had to be undertaken in the construction of a Naval Air Station. Little mention has been made of the time and the effort which has been spent in planning the Seabee camp and the construction of the roads, both temporary and permanent. Much remains to be done but most of the approximately 23 million cubic yards of earth and hydraulic fill have been moved, and construction has become more localized to individual areas.
Cubi Point Naval Air Facility was commissioned 1 July, 1956 and was covered in volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and subsequently closed, but the bronze young men in Seabee greens can justly be proud of the job they did.
(Note from Scott - The Subic Bay Naval Air Station was commissioned on July 1, 1956 while MCB-2 was en route to Port Hueneme.
MCB-2 was commissioned at Port Hueneme, CA effective June 1, 1950, 24 days prior to the start of the Korean War. In October 1950, MCB-2 was sent to Atsugi, Japan to rebuild a former Japanese naval air station for the use of the United States Navy in its Far Eastern Operations. MCB-2 returned to Port Hueneme approximately February 1, 1952 after sixteen months at Atsugi.
After returning to Port Hueneme in July 1956 from Cubi Point, MCB-2 was decommissioned August 9, 1956. 538 men of MCB-2 were transferred to MCB-3 August 10, 1956 and no personnel remained on board. These men returned to Cubi Point in September 1956 with MCB-3 to complete jobs needing completion. MCB-2 has never been re-commissioned.)
Brief Concise history of MCB 2
Sent to Atsugi, Japan October 1950; the advance party arrived October 12.
Left Atsugi February 1952 arriving in Port Hueneme shortly afterwards.
MCB 2 with 12 officers and 464 men sailed from Port Hueneme for the Philippine Islands aboard the USS Menard, APA 201, June 9, 1952 arriving at Subic Bay June 29. Their first job assignment was the removal of the top 90 feet of Mt. Maritan. The second major project was the construction of a temporary tank farm for the storage of fuel oil, diesel oil, aviation and automotive gasoline.
Left Cubi Point June 24, 1953 for Port Hueneme.
Left Port Hueneme late September 1953 to return to Cubi Point, arriving early October.
Left Cubi Point June 1954 to return to Port Hueneme.
Left Port Hueneme September 1954 to return to Cubi Point.
Left Cubi Point June 1955 to return to Port Hueneme.
Left Port Hueneme September 1955 returning to Cubi Point late September.
Left Cubi Point June 1956 to return to Port Hueneme.
Cubi Point Naval Air Station was commissioned July 1, 1956.
MCB 2 decommissioned August 9, 1956. Most of the men remaining in MCB 2 were transferred into MCB 3.
MCB 2 has never been re-commissioned.
538 men were transferred from MCB 2 to MCB 3 and MCB 3 returned to Subic Bay September 1956, returning to Port Hueneme July 16, 1957.
I can see it all now, men.... long, smooth runway.... planes swooping in...