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Navy Seabees, A tribute to MCB-9

Discussion in 'Old Iron!' started by Monte1255, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    Gentlemen:
    I think if there was ever a more appropriate place to post a thread of this nature I haven't found it. I know a lot of you guys got your start on running equipment in the US armed services and a lot of you have served our country with pride and honor. I started this thread for the purpose of honoring some of those persons who proudly call themselves Seabees!

    Although never in the service myself, My dad was, and it was his training that has been passed on down to the next generation (me) and sparked an interest in machine works, welding fabrication and construction. He has spent hrs telling me of his time in the service, what he did, the people he met and where he went. I will try to share some of his experiences with you as best I can recall and hopefully some will find the time to contribute here as well.

    In 1958 Dad graduated from High School and decided he wanted a "vacation" away from the farm for a while, he joined the US Navy and after completing Basic training chose to enter into a class A School to become a steelworker. His Schooling consisted of welding, (gas and arc) principles in steel fabrication, blueprints, and many other aspect of the trade. After graduating he was assigned to MCB-9 and in 1959 headed out to I believe it was Okinawa. His deployments usually lasted about 6 months at the end of which he returned back to home base (Port Hueneme California) other deployments included Adak Alaska, and Midway Island. MCB-9 like other Seabee units was like a complete Construction Co. encompassing everything from Heavy Equipment operators to steel workers and plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. AS a group the Seabee units traveled whereever they were needed in peace time and in war.
    Some of you may have even seen the John Wayne movie "The fighting Seabees" depicting in Hollywood terms the life of the Seabee in WWII. But in reality the primary mission of the Seabee was to build, and defend what they build. Over the next several days as time will allow I will try to get my facts straight, about what it was that can be called Dad's experience and share with you as well some of the pictures that were in his cruise book. My dad was only in for the four years, and tells me he sure would like to know a little bit more about his old unit, where they went and what they did after 1963, so once again if you have pictures, stories or anything you like to share please feel free to do so.

    MCB-9 005.jpg MCB-9 005.jpg

    Picture of Dad 3rd from left (back Row) while outside Yakatak Hanger (Adak Alaska) (1962)
    Sorry about picture quality the pictures were scanned from the cruise books.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  2. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    Pictures of some of the equipment and men who used it.

    MCB-9 001.jpg


    MCB-9 003.jpg

    Anyone got seat time on any of these machines?
     
  3. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    On a side note In Port Hueneme California there is a museum (of which I have not been to yet) for those interested in looking up info on the CB's They have a web page located here.

    http://www.history.navy.mil/museums/seabee_museum.htm

    From what I can gather from my own readings and will gladly stand corrected here if need be, MCB-7,9,10,11 (and I think others) were commisioned after Korea to fill a need to strengthen our defenses during the cold war and to help develop bases In Malta, the Philippine Islands, Okinawa, Adak-Kodiak islands, (Alaska) and Midway, just to name a few places they were during this time period. I am only speaking of the west cost Seabees right now, but other units were stationed off bases on the East Coast, of which I personally know little about. As I get a chance to do more digging I will try to post that info here as well.
     
  4. Colorado Digger

    Colorado Digger Senior Member

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    my grandpa was a seebee in ww2. very interesting indeed. he built many airstrips including the one in the gallepegos islands and the old strip in Guayaquil, Ecuador. i know he worked all over the world but would have to talk to my dad to get a better history. thanks for the fotos.
     
  5. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    yup! if your like me you probably had hrs of stories and experiences and history, coming from him. I've got lots more pictures where these came from and I'll keep posting em. Be interesting to know a little bit about the equipment, and the projects, I don't always recognize the models of the machines and could use some help with that. but we'll do our best.
     
  6. AVRMECH

    AVRMECH Member

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    I was in the Navy , the SEABEE"S were it back in the day. I was an MM/BT ( Engineman/ snipe/ Ship mech./ Steam plant operater.) on an Carrier.
     
  7. oldseabee

    oldseabee Senior Member

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    NMCB 24 for 17 (1981-1998) years as a mechanic, shop inspector, and trainer, called up for first Gulf War, attached to the Marines. Spent quality time in the desert mostly driving a 5 ton wrecker/service truck from project to project with another mechanic riding shotgun. No radio or any kind of communication. 350 pieces of mostly early 70's vintage equipment. First hitch active duty (1957-1961) Guided missiles, USS Boston CAG 1, first missile cruiser in the world, then USS Topeka and USS Providence.
     
  8. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    Welcome aboard gentlemen! check back often I'll be posting more pictures and trying to tell at least some of the story. Working on resizing some pictures now.
     
  9. Seabee Terry

    Seabee Terry New Member

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    Thanks for the posting about Seabees and thank you for your Dad's service.
    Photos from MCB-9 during the Vietnam era can be viewed at www.seabee-rvn.com in the MCB-9 Gallery as well as the Cruisebook Gallery

    Can Do
     
  10. big b

    big b Member

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    I was a Seabee from 2000 to 2005 i was stationed at CBU 417 wich was decommisioned right after i left. Then i went to ACB-1 in sandeago and sent to BMU-1 for dozer crew since i had a
    dozer background . Lots of fun learned lots of diffrent things wich was the old school way. Lots of the old Alpha dogs tought me the hardest part is starting it and to never tell anyone
    you cant run it. CAN DO.
     
  11. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    Many thanks to you Seabee Terry, and Big B. My Dad was always wondering what happened to his old unit, we had heard they got shot up in Vietnam pretty bad, but even there I need to say I'm not for sure on this.... until someone can set me straight.

    all the best gentlemen and thank you indeed for your service!

    What kinds of equipement were you gentlemen all running? any pics to add here, I've got a lot more to come, but they are all from one era. You've all got an interesting story, and I'm all for hearing what you've got to say.
     
  12. Seabee Terry

    Seabee Terry New Member

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    MCB-9 served on 3 deployments to Vietnam and was especially hit hard in loss of life losing 15 Seabees during the three deployments.

    One especially difficult action occurred 0n 31March 1968. MCB-9 was operating a rock crusher at Phu Loc and was responsible for a portion of their their own security...

    "1968… In an action that was typical of the “fighter/builders” of the Navy Seabees deployed in Vietnam, 5 Seabees of MCB-9’s Detail Echo gave their lives on 31 March in a valiant effort which saved the lives of many fellow Seabees and Marine personnel.
    When their camp, located near Phu Bai, came under heavy mortar and recoilless rifle attack, the Seabees immediately manned an 81-mm mortar position and commenced and maintained counter fire despite the barrage of enemy shells landing near their position. The effective return fire destroyed at least two enemy gun positions and broke the attack.
    During a second attack, five hours later, the Seabees again manned their mortar position and even though they realized the enemy had bracketed their position with mortars, stood their ground and, acting with concern for the entire camp, continued to return fire until the enemy scored two direct hits on their position. The Seabees, who gave their lives in defense of the camp, were instrumental in repelling the attack, the results of which would have been much more severe had the mortar crew abandoned their position, an action they would have been justified in taking. The Seabees were determined to defend and hold the camp which they had worked so hard to build.
    BUL2 Allen L. Mair Park City, UT (MCB-9) Phu Loc
    BUH3 James R. Retzloff Reding, CA (MCB-9) Phu Loc
    BUL3 George R. De Shurley Roswell, NM (MCB-9) Phu Loc
    CMH3 James F. Galati Philadelphia, PA (MCB-9) Phu Loc
    BULCN Mark E. Hodel Lodi, CA (MCB-9) Phu Loc"

    The Seabee camp at Phu Loc was subsequently named Camp De Shurley

    Rest in Peace Brothers

    MCB-9 photos can be viewed at www.seabee-rvn.com in the MCB-9 and RVN Cruisebook galleries
     
  13. Seabee Terry

    Seabee Terry New Member

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    I was an EAS (Engineering Aid-surveyor) running a transit and level
     
  14. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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  15. alex5249070

    alex5249070 New Member

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    Hi Monte,

    I am the guy you see in the photo above inside the hanger working on the IH Crawler.
     
  16. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    Welcome Sir! glad you found your way to the forums, you can about imagine my surprise when I opened my email this afternoon! I've gotten a lot of email in regard to this thread and have made contact with a few you may even know. Private message me here if you would like and Dad and I would surely be glad to talk with you.
     
  17. alex5249070

    alex5249070 New Member

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    Good morning Monte,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. Just stumbled onto the site again.

    Alex
     
  18. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    no problem Alex, I haven't had much time lately to do much writing here either. I've been busy getting an older m817 dump truck up and running for the coming months. I've been needing a good used truck to add to my business and found one on Gov. Liquidations.com.......... then three weeks after the truck we find three like new dozers for sale on the same website, they were listed as d7c's....maybe mid 70's vintage......... only problem............they were in Guam!!!! I don't think the underwater fording kit would quite allow me to road em home.......LOL such is life.....lol
     
  19. Maytag31

    Maytag31 New Member

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    My dad, Jim Francisco, was in Vietnam with MCB9 66-69, does anyone remember him?
     
  20. GreenMtnMan

    GreenMtnMan Active Member

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    Ward Cleaver was a Seabee!