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Thurman

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  1. Three tour Vietnam Seabee Veteran Ken Binghams book "BLACK HELL" is just about complete and will become available soon. This book is a compilation of histories-both personal and general-including all Seabee units that served on Iwo but concentrating primarily on the U.S. Naval 133rd Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) that was part of the 4th MARDIV at Iwo Jima. Numerous stories from individuals and news journalists are included to give the reader different perspectives and a thorough overview of the Seabee Iwo Jima experience. The bloody battle on Iwo's beaches and the build-out of the Island are included in detail. Over 200 images are included. The book begins by describing the island and the importance of it from the perspective of both the American and Japanese sides. It tells of the heroic and painful taking of Iwo Jima (Sulphur Island) by the Marines, and of the little known story of the 133rd Seabees that accompanied them during the fiercest part of the assault. Personal stories from the men of the 133rd Seabees are told and numerous pictures are included. A well written colorful chapter about the Seabees on Iwo by the famous William Bradford Huie is also included and provides an insight into what the Seabees were, their personalities, their developing lore, and what they sacrificed and accomplished for their country. Another well written chapter by Commander Edmund L. Castillo, USN from his book; The Seabees of World War II is also included. Other Iwo Jima Seabee unit histories are also included. Some of these units--or elements of them--were also part of the initial landing, and others came later. In total, over 7000 builder-fighter Seabees served on Iwo. The story is also about building Iwo's 3 airstrips and the supporting infrastructure built by the Seabees; its runways became some of the longest in the Pacific. A small city was formed on Iwo for thousands of Marine, Navy, Army, Army-Air Force, Seabees and Coast Guard men. The successful take-over of Iwo Jima meant that our heavy bombers--with their fighter escorts--were now within 650 miles of the Japanese mainland. Japan's "inner defenses" were now crushed thus portending the war's outcome. The cost in human life was grim. Part IV describes the 133rd's other battle; the on-going battle for the award of the PUC (Presidential Unit Citation). Hopefully this book will serve as a reinforcement in that quest. This book-with its collection of histories-is designed to serve future generations as a near single-source of information about the critical accomplishments that the men of the Navy Seabees achieved on Iwo Jima--especially the 133rd Seabees. THE BOOK CAN BE FOUND AT: WWW.SEABEEBOOKS.COM
  2. The 18th battalion was commissioned at Camp Allen, Norfolk, Va., Aug. 11, 1942, and transferred that day to Davisville R. 1. On Sept. 6, C Company was transferred to C.B. Replacement Group, Fleet Marine Force, San Diego, Calif. The remainder of the Battalion was transferred to the FMF Base Depot, Norfolk. Embarking on Sept. 11, 1942, the unit arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, Nov. 11. At Noumea, the battalion was engaged in miscellaneous construction projects such as camp improvement, fighter strip maintenance and general construction. The battalion didn't languish in New Caledonia too long for on Christmas day 1942 it arrived on Guadalcanal with orders to conrl struct fighter strip number 1. The battalion tackled the job with alacrity and finished the project in 44 days, though the men were subjected to bombings by Japanese aircraft during the day and naval bombardment at night. On Guadalcanal the battalion also built new roads and maintained the airfields. For their leadership and hard work Officer in Charge Lieutenant Commander L. E. Tull and Executive Officer, Lieutenant R. E. Clausen, CEC, USNR, received the Legion of Merit. The battalion finished the chores on Guadalcanal and on 11 April 1943, embarked for New Zealand to join the Second Marine Division. On April 26 the battalion was designated as the Third Battalion, 18th Marine Regiment, Second Marine Division. The battalion began intensive amphibious training and combat exercise in preparation for a combat assault on an enemy beach. The battalion trained for six sweaty months until it was deemed ready to join the Marines in the proposed assault. Two thirds of the battalion loaded aboard ship and accompanied the Second Marines across the long reach of the Pacific Ocean for the invasion. The remainder of the battalion stayed on Guadalcanal as the rear echelon. After a month at sea the battalion looked out across the blue water on November 20 and watched the Navy bombard the little atoll of Tarawa. In the ensuing five days following their arrival, the men of the battalion went ashore with the Marines-almost a third of the battalion participated in the savage fighting. Many of the men were wounded as the battalion repaired the Japanese Airfield under enemy fire in the first 30 hours of the invasion. The battalion made other repairs to bombarded facilities, built camps and aid stations and had the grisly chore of cleaning out dead Japanese from the wrecked blockhouses and trenches. The men of the battalion bulldozed long trenches in the coral sands of the atoll and dumped the hundreds of Japanese corpses in them. The battalion reworked the airfield, NL laying down Marston matting, and parking facilities for aircraft. The men of the battalion who actually participated in the invasion and the fighting on Tarawa were allowed to wear the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the 18th Marines by President Franklin Roosevelt. More than a dozen of the men were wounded and awarded the Purple Heart decoration. A portion of the battalion was sent to Hilo, Hawaii from the Gilbert Islands and Guadalcanal while a third of the battalion stayed at Tarawa to finish construction projects there. The Tarawa detachment left the Gilberts on 8 January 1944 and rejoined the battalion at Hilo to bring the battalion up to strength. In Hawaii the battalion helped construct the Second Marine Division camp, built a small service airstrip and engaged in a new training program. The battalion also main~d the new camp and airstrip and improved facilities. The battalion waS redesignated the 18th Construction Battalion and assigned to the Fifth Amphibious Corps for further assignment with the Second Marine Division on 1 April 1944. Between 5 May 1944 and 11 May the battalion embarked for the Mariana~ • Islands with the Marines with the assignment to act as shore party for the invasion of Saipan. On 15 June the battalion went ashore with the Marines on Saipan's beaches. The battalion carried out its major assignment as the invasion shore party, unloading supplies, constructing pontoon piers and effecting salvage of wrecked equipment. While engaged in these duties the battalion was under constant mortar and small arms fire and sustained numerous casualties. In addition to the main duty of beach support, the battalion also built several roads and a hospital. Six enlisted men and two officers of the battalion volunteered to assist the amphibious landing on Tinian Island on "J" day. The Seabees were presented with a unique problem of landing men and supplies because of the peculiar configuration of the Tinian invasion beach. Commander P. J. Halloran designed a wooden ramp which folded back over the top of the LST and would drop forward over the bow when the craft grounded on the beach. The high ramp would then allow the combat personnel and supplies to be landed across the ramp over the cliff~ike Tinian shoreline. The remainder of the battalion arrived on Tinian two days after the invasion and set up a permanent camp. -The Seabees also, in part, helped to establish Camp Churo. The camp was erected for the Civil Affairs people of the Second Marine Division who were charged with the care of the 11,000 civilian Japanese and Koreans on Tinian. The building of the camp was a monumental task and included all housing, sanitation facilities, food and water supply and securi perimeter. Also, the Seabees had to build a camp for the garrison force guarding the civilians and a G-5 Hospital Unit for the Japanese and Koreans. For more than six months following the invasion, the battalion , endured constant sniper fire and several banzai attacks by the remaining die-hard Japanese who refused to surrender. Five men of the battalion were killed in action and thirty seven enlisted men and one officer were awarded the Purple Heart decoration for wounds from enemy attacks. Also, five men of the 18th Construction Battalion were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism. It was common for the Seabees, individually or in small groups, to go "Jap hunting" when their construction chores were done for the day. On numerous occasions small parties of Seabees and a few rugged individuals would arm themselves with grenades and a rifle or submachinegun, and clean out Japanese soldier~skulking in the innumerable caves on the island. On one occasion an enlisted man killed five Japanese hiding in a cave by throwing in a grenade. In one instance a Seabee of the 18th charged into a cave and grabbed a live grenade from the Japanese defender, throwing the bomb further into the cave to avoid getting hit. One time, two enlisted men working on a road were fired upon by a group of Japanese hidden in a dugout nearby. The Seabees grabbed their weapons and attacked the dugout and killed nine enemy soldiers. Combat activity, though dramatic, was sporadic for the Seabees made their greatest contribution to the war effort in building tank farms for lube oil and aviation gasoline storage. The big projects were servicing facilities for the B-29s operating from North Field and West Field on Tinian. The huge Army Air Corps bombers were raiding Japan daily and the Seabees were the men who built and maintained the airstrips, tank farms, bomb dumps and other support facilities for the airmen. Included in the construction were the aircraft revetments and the fuel lines from the tank farms to the airstrips. The 18th Construction Battalion also built roads and streets, maintained and enlarged Camp Churo for the military government and drilled wells to obtain fresh water for various camps. The 18th also built a large camp for the Quartermaster Corps and a depot. The project entailed the construction of over 100 buildings, warehouses and barracks, a mess hall, heads and bakery. With all the construction and combat activity, the men of the 18th found time to rig an ingenious cobbler's shop and a ;1e press resembling a cookie cutter to make rubber heels for boots out of discarded tires. USing the die and automobile jack and a block of wood, the men made heels and soles for Seabee and Marine boots which were wearing out very quickly on the coral studded island. The battalion continued building and maintaining tank farms and roads right up to the day it was in-Jactivated, June 15, 1945.
  3. 53rd N.C.B. GUAM, July 21, 1944

    SUE - HERE IS THE HISTORY OF THE 53RD, I HAVE THEIR CRUISEBOOK. I'M CHECKING OUT WITH MY SOURCES. - THAT IS MY PHOTO OF SEABEE DEMO TEAM 3 ON GUAM. THE SEABEES HAD DEMOLITION SQUADS, THAT WERE DIFFERENT THAN THE "UDT" (UNDERWATER DEMO TEAMS). THE DEMOLITION SQUADS REMOVED MINES THIS IS MOST LIKELY WHAT YOUR FATHER DID.- THE UDT TEAMS DID RECON ON THE BEACHES PRIOR TO THE ASSAULT FORCES. I'LL GET BACK YO YOU. 53RD BATTALION Alter activation at Norfolk Dec. 22, 1942, the 53rd NCB moved to Davisville, R. I., Dec. 28, and was divided into two sections Jan. 16. 1943. The Second Section left Davisville Feb. 7 with orders to join a section of the 17th NCB to form the 120th NCB. Exact movements of Second Section are unreported following departure from Davisville. On Feb. 12, one company and one fourth of Headquarters Company of the First Section moved to Hadnot Point, New River, N. C. for duty with the Fleet Marine Force. Another company, with Headquarters group, went to San Diego for duty with FMF The Hadnot Point detachment was transferred into Naval Construction Replacement Group, Camp Lejeune, New River, N. C., Feb. 15. The 53rd was assigned 13 officers and 541 men from the replacement group at Lejeune, and seven officers and 268 men from replacement groups at Camps Elliott and Pendleton, San Diego. The contingents joined at San Diego Feb. 26, and sailed for Noumea, New Caledonia, March 11, arriving March 25. The 53rd was designated as Naval Construction Battalion, First Marine Amphibious Corps, April 14. The Battalion switched operations to Guadalcanal Oct. 12, 1943, and from there sent one detachment to Vella Lavella and several groups to Bougainville in November and December. The Battalion regrouped at Guadalcanal in January 1944, and on May 12 was redesignated the 53rd NCB. In six echelons, the unit moved to Guam, participating in the invasion, and was on duty there when the war ended.
  4. Seeking information on E.C. Adams

    SUE - HERE IS THE HISTORY OF THE 53RD, I HAVE THEIR CRUISEBOOK. I'M CHECKING OUT WITH MY SOURCES. - THAT IS MY PHOTO OF SEABEE DEMO TEAM 3 ON GUAM. THE SEABEES HAD DEMOLITION SQUADS, THAT WERE DIFFERENT THAN THE "UDT" (UNDERWATER DEMO TEAMS). THE DEMOLITION SQUADS REMOVED MINES THIS IS MOST LIKELY WHAT YOUR FATHER DID.- THE UDT TEAMS DID RECON ON THE BEACHES PRIOR TO THE ASSAULT FORCES. I'LL GET BACK YO YOU. 53RD BATTALION Alter activation at Norfolk Dec. 22, 1942, the 53rd NCB moved to Davisville, R. I., Dec. 28, and was divided into two sections Jan. 16. 1943. The Second Section left Davisville Feb. 7 with orders to join a section of the 17th NCB to form the 120th NCB. Exact movements of Second Section are unreported following departure from Davisville. On Feb. 12, one company and one fourth of Headquarters Company of the First Section moved to Hadnot Point, New River, N. C. for duty with the Fleet Marine Force. Another company, with Headquarters group, went to San Diego for duty with FMF The Hadnot Point detachment was transferred into Naval Construction Replacement Group, Camp Lejeune, New River, N. C., Feb. 15. The 53rd was assigned 13 officers and 541 men from the replacement group at Lejeune, and seven officers and 268 men from replacement groups at Camps Elliott and Pendleton, San Diego. The contingents joined at San Diego Feb. 26, and sailed for Noumea, New Caledonia, March 11, arriving March 25. The 53rd was designated as Naval Construction Battalion, First Marine Amphibious Corps, April 14. The Battalion switched operations to Guadalcanal Oct. 12, 1943, and from there sent one detachment to Vella Lavella and several groups to Bougainville in November and December. The Battalion regrouped at Guadalcanal in January 1944, and on May 12 was redesignated the 53rd NCB. In six echelons, the unit moved to Guam, participating in the invasion, and was on duty there when the war ended.
  5. A SPECIAL PIECE OF HELL, BY BILL D. ROSS. PELELIU THE UNTOLD STORY. THE PACIFIC WAR'S FORGOTTEN BATTLE. FOUR HUNDRED SEABEES LANDED WITH THE EARLY WAVES OF THE ASSAULT ON D-DAY. BECAUSE OF THE DISASTROUS TRAFFIC JAM ON THE REEF, HOWEVER, THEIR EQUIPMENT REMAINED OFFSHORE ON LST'S UNTIL THE MORNING OF D-PLUS- 3, A DELAY THAT RESULTED IN DEATH FOR SEVEN OF THE MEN, AND WOUNDS TO NINETEEN MORE WHO WERE SERVING AS VOLUNTEER STRETCHER BEARERS. MANY OF THE OTHERS, ARMED WITH CARBINES AND RIFLES PICKED UP ON THE BEACH, HAD MOVED SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE 5TH MARINES TO HELP CAPTURE THE AIRFIELD. CAPTAIN FRANK COOPER, 1ST ENGINEER BATTALION, 1ST MARINE DIVISION, PELELIU. THE BIG BOTTLENECK ON PELELIU WAS A PLACE CALLED BLOODY NOSE RIDGE, I THINK ITS REAL NAME WAS UMERBROGO, SO NATURALLY THE MEN HAD TO CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE. OUR COMMAND FINALLY FIGURED OUT THAT THE THING TO DO WAS FIRST BYPASS BLOODY NOSE AND THEN COME BACK AND REDUCE IT, I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MUCH WORK OUR OUTFIT DID TO TRY AND HELP THE RIFLE COMPANIES HERE, BUT IT WAS CONSTANT. ALONG WITH THE SEABEES AND PIONEERS, WE GOT AN AIRSTRIP GOING, AND OUR PLANES ENDED UP BOMBING BLOODY NOSE FROM A RUNWAY ABOUT A HALF MILE FROM THAT HELLISH PLACE. THEY CALLED IT THE SHORTEST BOMBING RUN IN HISTORY. SEPTEMBER 15, 1944, PELELIU WAS ONE OF THE MOST BRUTAL BATTLES IN THE PACIFIC. BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 15 AND OCTOBER 15, 1944, THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION SUFFERED MORE THAN 6,500 CASUALTIES FIGHTING ON A HELLISH LITTLE CORAL ISLAND IN THE PACIFIC. PELELIU WAS THE SCENE OF ONE OF THE MOST SAVAGE NO-QUARTER STRUGGLES OF MODERN TIMES, ONE THAT HAD ALL BEEN FORGOTTEN. "BILL SLOAN" AUTHOR BROTHERHOOD OF HEROES, THE MARINES AT PELELIU. CIVIL ENGINEER CORPS BULLETIN - JUNE 1949. "ACTION AT PELELIU" CDR P. CORRADI'S STORY OF HOW THE 33RD SEABEES HIT THE BEACH AND BUILT A LANDING STRIP DURING THE ATTACK ON PELELIU. D-DAY - THE FIRST SEABEES WENT ASHORE EARLY THIS MORNING. THEY'VE BEEN ON BARGES AT THE REEF ALL DAY, TRANSFERRING BEANS, BULLETS, AND MEN FROM THE ASSAULT BOATS TO THE AMPHIBIOUS TRACTORS THAT ARE BEING USED AS FERRIES BETWEEN THE REEF AND THE BEACH. MORTAR SHELLS ARE DROPPING ALL AROUND THEM, AND DISABLED AMTRACKS ARE PILING UP PRETTY FAST. NONE OF THE TRANSFER BARGES WHICH ARE MANNED BY THE SEABEES HAVE BEEN HIT. IT'S AMAZING THAT THERE IS ANY FIGHT LEFT IN PELELIU'S DEFENDERS. FOR DAYS THE BIG GUNS OF THE PRE-INVASION BOMBARDMENT FORCE HAVE BEEN POURING HEAVY SHELLS INTO THE ISLAND. SINCE BEFORE DAWN THIS MORNING, STRIKE AFTER STRIKE OF CARRIER PLANES HAVE STRAFED AND BOMBED THE BEACHES. THE LCIR'S HAVE BEEN WHIZZING 5-INCH ROCKETS INTO SHORE DEFENSES ALL MORNING BUT STILL THE JAP MORTARS MAKE THE STRETCH FROM REEF TO BEACH DEADLY. THE BEACH ITSELF IS A BEDLAM OF GEAR, WRECKED EQUIPMENT, AND PINNED DOWN MARINES AND SEABEES. ABOUT NOON, FREDDIE DAVIS(LT C.F. DAVIS, CEC, USNR) AND OBIE OBRIEN (CHCARP E. E. O'BRIEN, CEC, USNR) WENT ASHORE WITH TWO HUNDRED MORE THIRTY-THIRDERS TO JOIN THE SHORE PARTY AND HELP UNSCRAMBLE THE BEACH. D+1- WE WERE TO START WORK ON THE AIRFIELD TODAY, BUT INTENSE FIGHTING IS STILL GOING ON AT THE SOUTHEAST PORTION OF THE AIRDROME. THE NORTHWEST PORTION IS STILL IN JAP HANDS. THE THIRTY-THIRDERS ARE ENGAGED ENTIRELY IN SHORE PARTY OPERATIONS. CASUALTIES AMONGST THE AID PARTIES HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY HIGH, SO OUR PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN OVER STRETCHER BEARER'S ASSIGNMENTS. WE STARTED A CEMETERY AT ORANGE BEACH TODAY. D+2- FIGHTING HAS MOVED UP TO THE NORTHWEST END OF THE AIRDROME. THE SKIPPER AND HANK AUCH (LT HERMAN H. AUCH, CEC, USNR) MADE A RECONNAISSANCE OF THE AIRFIELD WITH COLONEL FRANCIS FENTON, THE DIVISION ENGINEER, FIRST MARINE DIVISION. THERE ISN'T MUCH LEFT OF THE JAP STRIPS. THE PRE-INVASION BOMBARDMENT AND THE FIGHTING OF THE PAST TWO DAYS HAS LEFT THEM HARDLY RECOGNIZABLE AS AIR STRIPS. THE PLAN IS TO REPAIR ONE STRIP AS A FIGHTER FIELD AND TO COMPLETELY REBUILD THE OTHER THIRTY FIVE HUNDRED FOOT STRIP AS A BOMBER STRIP, EXTENDING IT TO 6,500 FEET. D+3- THE MORTAR FIRE IS TOO HEAVY AT THE REEF TO RISK BEACHING THE LST'S HENCE NO EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE TO START THE AIRFIELD WORK. WE ARE GOING TO WORK LIKE THE JAPS UNDOUBTEDLY DID- WITH PICK AND SHOVEL. LT WALTER SUYDAM AND FIFTY MORE OF THE BATTALIONS MEN WERE LANDED TODAY WITH A SUPPLY OF HAND TOOLS. A HUMAN CHAIN WAS FORMED ACROSS THE AREA WHERE THE JAP STRIP HAD BEEN, AND WE STARTED TO COMB THE PLACE FOR SHRAPNEL, UNEXPLODED BOMBS, BOOBY TRAPS, ETC. CHIEF CARPENTER'S MATE, SALVATORE IMPELLETTERI, AND HIS BOYS WERE KEPT BUSY DISARMING AND DISPOSING OF THE BOMBS AND BOOBY TRAPS. A MOUND OF HEAPED UP PIECES OF SHRAPNEL SOON BEGAN TO FORM. IMPELLETTERI'S CREW DUG UP A JAP TORPEDO WAR HEAD THAT HAD BEEN RIGGED WITH A PRESSURE TRIPPING DEVICE. THE EASTERLY END OF THE FORMER STRIP HAD BEEN CLEARED BY DARK. D+4- FILLING IN THE HOLES AT THE EAST END OF THE STRIP WAS BEGUN AT DAWN. THE WORK IS HOT AND SLOW. CROCKFORD WAS KILLED. THE BATTALION COMMAND POST WAS MOVED UP TO THE STRIP FROM THE BEACH. DUGOUTS WERE EXCAVATED TO REPLACE THE INDIVIDUAL FOX HOLES. A BATTERY OF 155-MM GUNS WAS SET UP IN OUR BIVOUAC ARE. THE PONTOON CAUSEWAY SECTIONS WERE LAUNCHED FORM OUR LST'S AND SOME OF THE HEAVY EQUIPMENT WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE TANK DECKS TO THE PONTOONS VIA THE BOW DOORS. THIS HAD TO BE DONE OUTSIDE THE RANGE OF THE SHORE GUNS IN DEEP WATER. WHEN THE TRACTORS, SHOVELS, TRUCKS, ETC. HAD BEEN MOVED ONTO THE PONTOONS, THE CAUSEWAYS WERE TIED UP ALONGSIDE THE LST'S FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT. D+5- THE 155'S FIRED OVER OUR HEADS ALL LAST NIGHT. AFTER THE SOUND HAD BEEN LIKENED TO A SUBWAY EXPRESS BY A FEW FORMER DENIZENS OF NEW YORK, LITTLE FURTHER NOTE WAS TAKEN OF THEM AND WE EVEN MANAGED TO SLEEP WHILE THE GUNS PUMPED SHELLS ALL NIGHT INTO BLOODY NOSE RIDGE. ONE LOADED CAUSEWAY SECTION WAS BEACHED AND WE NOW HAVE 2 TRUCKS, 3 GRADERS, AND A DOZER WITH SCRAPER. REPAIR WORK ON THE FIGHTER STRIP REALLY SPEEDED UP WITH THE ACQUISITION OF THIS EQUIPMENT. A DAMAGED FIGHTER PLANE LANDED ON OUR PARTIALLY COMPLETED STRIP THIS AFTERNOON. OUR RUBBER TIRED MOTOR GRADERS WERE PRACTICALLY IMMOBILIZED BY THE MANY BITS OF SHRAPNEL THAT STILL COVER THE FIELD. EFFORTS WERE RE-DOUBLED TO CLEAN UP THE REMAINDER OF THE STEEL FRAGMENTS. SNIPERS STILL CAUSE WORK STOPPAGES. THE CARPENTER CREW THAT STARTED ERECTION OF THE FLIGHT OPERATIONS TOWER, WHICH LT CAMBELL AND WO HYNES HAD PREFABRICATED BACK IN THE RUSSELLS, WAS TWICE STOPPED BY SNIPER FIRE. D+6- MORE EQUIPMENT WAS LANDED OVER THE PONTOON CAUSEWAY TODAY. TWENTY THREE OFFICERS AND SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THREE MEN ARE NOW ASHORE WITH THE BATTALION. ENOUGH EQUIPMENT IS AT HAND TO START CONSTRUCTION OF THE BOMBER STRIP. FREDDIE DAVIS SHORE PARTY GROUP HAS REJOINED THE BATTALION FOOR THE AIRFIELD WORK. MORE DUGOUTS WERE EXCAVATED AND TARPS WERE STRETCHED OVER THEM TO KEEP OUT THE BLISTERING SUN AND, ALTERNATELY, THE POURING RAIN. A SQUADRON OF OUR FIGHTERS LANDED ON THE STRIP THIS AFTERNOON. WE STARTED THE FIGHTER TAXIWAYS. WE HAD OUR FIRST HOT MEAL TODAY. D+7- HEAVY RAINS TODAY. WE CONCENTRATED ON REMOVAL OF WRECKED EQUIPMENT FROM AROUND AND IN THE AIRFIELD. SOMEONE COUNTED OVER ONE HUNDRED ENEMY AIRCRAFT THAT WE HAD HAULED TO A CENTRAL DUMP. THE BORROW PIT FOR CORAL IS IN FULL OPERATION. NO ONE THOUGHT THOUGHT THE ONE AND ONE HALF CUBIC YARD SHOVEL WOULD EVER MAKE IT OVER THE FLOATING PONTOON CAUSEWAY WHICH IS ONLY TWO PONTOONS WIDE. THE HEAVY EQUIPMENT CREW MOVED IT SAFELY, HOWEVER. FIGHTING CONTINUES ON THE NORTHWEST EDGE OF THE AIRDROME. CHIEF STRASSER WAS KILLED TODAY. D+8- UNLOADING THE CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT HAS FINALLY BEEN COMPLETED. WE NOW HAVE OUR OWN DISTILLATION UNITS. ONE WAS PUT INTO IMMEDIATE OPERATION. WE HAD BEEN DRINKING WATER THAT WAS HAULED ASHORE IN STEAMED OUT OIL DRUMS, BUT ITS TASTE WAS HORRIBLE. WORK IS PROCEEDING ON THE BOMBER STRIP TAXIWAYS. WE TRIED TO MAKE BETTER TIME BY WORKING AFTER DARK TONIGHT, BUT THE MARINES SHOT OUT OUR LIGHTS WHICH WERE SILHOUETTING THEIR TROOPS ON THE SLOPE BELOW BLOODY NOSE RIDGE. WE WORKED FOR AWHILE BY MOONLIGHT. THE HEAT AND THE FLIES ARE BAD. DOC YORK AND DOC GEER ARE BUSY WITH THEIR NUMEROUS DYSENTERY PATIENTS. D+9- IMPELLETTERI'S CREW HAS ALL MINES, DUDS, AND BOOBY TRAPS CLEARED FROM THE AIRFIELD AREA BUT THEY CAN'T BE EVERYWHERE. CHIEF PELLISSIER AND GENE YUETTNER WERE WOUNDED BY A BOOBY TRAP TODAY WHILE ATTEMPTING TO SALVAGE SOME ENEMY GEAR. ONE JAP ROLLER HAS BEEN REAPAIRED AND WAS PUT INTO SERVICE ON THE TAXIWAY TODAY. GRADING CONTINUES. D+10- THE CORAL PIT IS REALLY PRODUCING. SURFACING OF THE BOMBER STRIP HAS BEEN STARTED. THE ARGUS 20 RADAR INSTALLATION WAS COMPLETED TODAY. THE CREW THAT HAS BEEN TRYING TO PUT IN THE AVGAS SPILLWAY ON THE WEST ROAD HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET BACK TO LOCATION AS FIGHTING HAS BROKEN OUT THERE AGAIN. ATTEMPTS TO DRILL WELLS FOR FRESH WATER HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL. SINCE BRACKISH WATER IS THE BEST WE CAN BRING IN, MYRON WATSON (CCM, CEC, USNR) IS HOOKING UP THE INTAKE TO THE DISTILLATION UNITS TO THE BEST OF THE BRACKISH WATER WELLS. TODAY WE HAVE A GANG SHOWER PIPED UP FROM THE WELL. WHAT A JOY! D+11- WE WORKED ALL NIGHT LAST NIGHT HAULING CORAL. THE MOON WAS BRIGHT AND THE STAR SHELLS OVER BLOODY NOSE RIDGE GAVE AN ALMOST CONTINUOUS BRIGHT LIGHT. TODAY, WORK WAS RESUMED ON THE AVGAS SPILLWAY. THE TEMPORARY CAMP IS WELL ALONG. WE HAVE COTS SET UP IN THE DUGOUTS, DORMITORY STYLE. THE GA;;EY TENT IS SERVING HOT MEALS CONTINUOUSLY. D+12- THEW ENEMY RESISTANCE HAS BEEN PRETTY WELL LOCALIZED ON BLOODY NOSE RIDGE. OUR FIGHTER PLANES ARE TAKING OFF ALMOST CONTINUOUSLY FROM THE STRIP WE PUT INTO OPERATION JUST A FEW DAYS AGO. THEY ARE STRAFING AND BOMBING THE ENEMY ON THE RIDGE ABOUT A THOUSAND YARDS YARDS TO THE NORTH OF THE STRIP ITSELF. THE SKIPPER TOOK A RECONNAISSANCE TRIP IN A PIPER CUB TODAY. HE REPORTED THAT THE MARINE PILOT WHO FLEW HIM TOOK ALONG A SUPPLY OF HAND GRENADES WHICH HE TOSSED OUT AT LIKELY TARGETS. AS A RESULT OF THIS AND OTHER RECONNAISSANCE IT WAS DECIDED TO LOCATE THE PROPOSED HOSPITAL UP THE WEST COAST OF THE ISLAND ON LAND WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN SECURED. LT BETY WAS ASSIGNED THE JOB OF FOLLOWING UP ON THE HOSPITAL. D+13- WORK PROGRESSES ON THE BOMBER STRIP. PLANES CONTINUE TO PILE IN AND EMPHASIS HAS SHIFTED TO PROVIDING TAXIWAYS AND DISPERSAL AREAS FOR THEM. TWENTY FOUR HOUR OPERATION HAS BEEN APPROVED AND CORAL HAULING HELP FROM OTHER UNITS OBTAINED. THERE WAS A RUMOR THAT THE JAPS HAD SURRENDERED TODAY, BUT THE INTENSE FIRING ON THE RIDGE CONTINUES. BELL AND BARTLETT WERE KILLED. FOR THIS, THE THIRTY THIRD RECEIVED A NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION, WHILE THE SHORE PARTY WHO LANDED ON D-DAY WAS AWARDED A PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION.
  6. Bougainville Field in Use, Seabees Did Job!

    ARMY & NAVY REGISTER - JUNE 10 1944 SEABEE REGIMENT COMMENDED A REGIMENT OF NAVY SEABEES HAS BEEN COMMENDED BY ARMY, NAVY, & MARINE CORPS OFFICERS FOR THE PART IT PLAYED IN REPELLING A SUSTAINED 17- DAY COUNTER-ATTACK ON BOUGAINVILLE. THE SEABEES WERE UNDER COMMAND OF COMDR. L.V. CLARK DEICHLER, CBC, USNR. TWO BATT., BIVOUACKED JUST OFF THE TOROKINA FIGHTER STRIP, WERE SUBJECT TO ESPECIALLY HEAVY FIRE. IN ORDER TO REMAIN ALIVE, IN THE BIVOUAC AREA BETWEEN MARCH 8 AND 24, 1944, AN OFFICIAL REPORT STATED, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR ALL HANDS TO SPEND SOME OF THE DAYLIGHT HOURS IN FOXHOLES AND TO SLEEP IN FOXHOLES EACH NIGHT. IN ONE 24 HOUR PERIOD, THE JAPS SCORED 11 DIRECT HITS ON THE CAMP OF ONE BATTALION AND DROPPED MORE THAN 110 SHELLS WITHIN 50 YARDS. THESE COMBAT CONDITIONS DID NOT PREVENT THE SEABEES FROM COMPLETING ALL EMERGENCY REPAIRS ON THE PIVA FIGHTER STRIPS, WHICH HAD TAKEN A HEAVY BATTERING. DURING THE ENTIRE 17 DAY PERIOD, NO NAVAL FACILITY WAS OUT OF COMMISSION FOR MORE THAN 30 MINUTES. AIRFIELD REPAIR GROUPS HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED FOR APPROPRIATE AWARDS BY MAJ. GEN. R.J. MITCHELL, U.S.M.C., WHO WAS THEN COM. AIRCRAFT, SOLOMON ISLANDS, AND WHO IS NOW COM. AIR SOUTH PACIFIC. THROUGHOUT THE ASSAULTS, THE SEABEES CONTINUED WORK ON A HOSPITAL, A PT BASE, BOAT POOL REPAIR FACILITIES, AND OTHER IMPORTANT NAVAL BASE STRUCTURES. THEY REPLACED INFANTRYMEN IN HANDLING RATIONS & UNLOADING CARGO. THEY FURNISHED A COMBAT TEAM OF APPROXIMATELY 400 MEN TO BE HELD IN RESERVE FOR FRONT-LINE DUTY. THEIR WORK, IN THE FACE OF CONTINUED ENEMY OPPOSITION HAS BEEN ON THE HIGHEST ORDER AND REFLECT GREAT CREDIT UPON THE BATTALION PARTICIPATING, SAID REAR ADMIRAL O.O. BADGER, U.S.N. COM. SERVICE SQUADRON, SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE. THIS COMMAND, REAR ADMIRAL BADGER CONTINUED, TAKES THIS OPPORTUNITY TO COMMEND THE REGIMENT FOR THE EXCELLENCE OF THEIR PERFORMANCE. THE SEABEES ALSO WERE COMMENDED BY MAJ. GEN. MITCHELL, CAPT. H.S. SEASE, U.S.N. COM. AIR CENTER, TOROKINA, MAJ. GEN. O.W. GRISWOLD, ARMY COM. OFF. AND CAPT. O.O. KEESING, U.S.N., COM. NAVAL AIR BASE, TOROKINA.
  7. Okinawa Seabees

    Story about Seabees attached to the 1st Marine Division at Okinawa, patrolling the Makibaru area and fighting Japanese; in close combat with the enemy. The first few nights I foxholed by myself as the casualty group was fairly new in organization and I had not made any buddies. The Marines (1st Marine Division) in the group had been together for some time and were not new to combat. They already had a "wife" slang for a mate who was more or less a permanent foxhole co-inhabitant. The 1st Marine Division landed on L-Day near the Bishi Gawa river mouth. During the initial period of the campaign, this Division was responsible for, among other things, hunting down small bands of enemy guerrillas and infiltrators throughout the center of the island. This included the Makibaru area. The enemy force in this area was the 1st Specially Established Regiment, ordered to fight a delaying action and then retreat.Those of us assigned to the casualty group with the First Marine Division soon found a wife. Paul Gilbert SF1, was my choice. He was about my age, thus the necessary vibes were present. In mid morning of the second day the casualty group made of up Seabees and Marines moved out with a number of trucks loaded with supplies. We were attacked twice by small groups of Jap infantry, they had no heavy armament so they were killed or repulsed with but few wounded on our side. This was the first time I saw who was shooting at me and who I was shooting at. Regardless of the distance you were never sure if it was your effort that caused the target to fall or someone else's effort. But it gave you satisfaction to think it was your shooting that counted the most. At this time we did not have time to look over the kill or to search for trophies or souvenirs, In fact this pursuit was only practiced when we began to feel like victors and felt reasonably certain the bounty was worthwhile. Flush with the flowing adrenalin and the thrill of first combat action of exchanging fire with a seen enemy, I felt sure I had accounted for at least two Japs. It was later, on a very personal basis, that I could say "I killed him" He's mine. Our present mission was to get the truck convoy to it's destination. The assault was moving inland and in a few days the Seabee Battalion was well along in setting up camp near a captured airstrip. The term "camp" means temporary, "base" means more or less permanent. Twice, Jap sorties attacked the fringes of the air strip. But their numbers were such that they were more of a nuisance rather than a threat. The supplement to the casualty groups for the most part returned to their units. Thus, we were again reunited with our mates. I returned to my duty as a cook. We cooks had little to do galley-wise. We more or less just passed out prepared food. So I, becoming bored, often went exploring or joined the Marines I had been with in the casualty group. They were now a mop-up team whose job it was to hunt out the Japs who stayed behind the lines to act as snipers and to do diversion action. I could have got in trouble leaving my station, but from now on till the end of the war military discipline took second place to surviving and getting the mission done. Along with the Marines I shot at burning Japs as they fled from their cave hide outs. It was about this time that I got a Jap I could claim as mine. Four Marines and two of us casualty group members were sent on a side trail to check for any snipers or straggling bands that the Japs may have left behind. I would like to interject here that by now the members of the casualty group were accepted by the Marines as part of their cadre. The reason for this hesitancy is that in combat you like to know your comrades, who has had previous combat exposure, who is compatible and can be counted upon, and who may be questionable. So, the six of us made our may on full alert along the path that was about a wagons width and most likely once used by native farmers. Vegetation had grown high along its sides but the bombardment had taken a good share of this down. We were especially aware of and watched the craters and mounds caused by this bombardment. We were spread out in military fashion, a fair space about each individual. We had progressed maybe a mile or so from out take off point when out in front of us appeared four Japs. They must have been crossing the path's clearing as they were taken by surprise as much as we were. They yelled something as did some of us. In a twinkle of an eye, they started firing and charged toward us. We dropped to one knee or flat on the ground and returned fire. Both sides were firing as fast as a trigger finger would work. We had the advantage not only because there were six of us but also because we dropped to a stationary position. The charging Japs were also firing as a fast as possible but with little accuracy. It was all over in a few minutes. This time I knew I had got my kill. For in their charge one Jap got within thirty feet of me when I hit him in the head and gut, the head hit being what counted. The other fallen Japs were some distance from me and mine. Our leader told two of the others to be alert. The sound of our fighting could bring others from the wrong side. While the two assigned as lookouts remained on the alert, the rest of us looked over our kill. No one came to me or mine as it was evident to all who killed him. We stripped the Japs bodies which had become the custom, to look for maps or military information. In this case it may appear silly as these four appeared to be just lowly grunts. But, Jap officers were known to take the disguise of lower rank. What lay ahead was a second encounter with Japs within an hour. We first heard a laughing noise behind us then running foot falls. We all dove into the underbrush beside the path, half on one side and half on the other side. We were not setting up an ambush necessarily until we knew the numbers. Well hidden we were and a good thing as about 15 Japs came jogging at a good pace right by us. They were within 15 feet of us. Such was the game of hide and seek in the Pacific on land as well as on sea. Our leader said we should return and report what we had just seen. That many Japs behind the lines may be significant in association with other intelligence being collected by other groups such as our own. On returning and reporting it seems that from other information gathered, the Japs were pulling back their harassment groups and snipers to strengthen their rear lines. This proved to be true. My last assignment with the Marines was for our group to go back to the trail we had just returned from and cautiously prod forward till we found or met resistance; then to stop and send a runner back with the location. I imagine this act was repeated all along the area for some distance. We were not to engage if this ws possible; just locate. Of course, everyone knew the likelihood of this was slight. We got well beyond the point on the trail where we turned back from our last encounter with the Japs. It was getting dark and so we made our foxholes for the night with half of our force on one side of the pathway and half on the other side. We made the holes deep and the weather looked good. But in the island climate, minutes could change all this. Here the jungle had not received the devastation as some of the rest probably because we were in a gully or a narrow valley. The only sky you could see was directly overhead. We had been in our foxholes but a short time after darkness enclosed us when shouting and rifle shots assaulted us from all sides. Fortunately, for some reason it was a few seconds before the assault members exposed themselves. It was obvious at once we were out numbered and while we were dug in and ready it would only be a matter of time before we would be over run. But only moments after the Jpas attacked, a large detachment of Marines came from what seemed like nowhere and they far outnumbered those who just seconds ago had the advantage. The battle lasted but a short time. There were many downed Japs but only a few Marines. I never did know if we were used as decoys or were just lucky. The Marines who rescued us were so confident that the encounter was over they bedded down in convenient niches without going to the trouble of digging foxholes. The next morning the Marine body that rescued us proceeded on and our casualty group returned to our original base.
  8. Milwaukee Journal - Jan. 3, 1944. BOUGAINVILLE FIELD IN USE, SEABEES DID JOB! With U.S. forces on Bougainville - A 6,500 foot field for light and medium bombers, within less than 250 miles of Rabaul, and only 850 miles from Japan's mighty Naval base of Truk is now in operation in these northern Solomon Islands. The airfield, at the base of the fuming volcano, Mount Bagana, was carved out of the heaviest of jungles and was dedicated Christmas day. Called Piva field, after the river village of that name. It is the second field to be established on the expanding beachhead which U.S. Marines first won November 1, 1943 with a landing at Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville's west central coast. The Torokina fighter field of 4,200 feet, superimposed upon a swamp, has been used since Dec. 12. Torokina has been dispatching fighter planes for sweeps over Rabaul. Now they can screen bombers flying from Piva, a mere aerial skip and jump from Rabaul. The Piva field is the nearest one of the allies to Truk in the Carolines. The building of Piva was accomplished with heroics and utter dis-regard of danger. Once tractors were leveling ground within a few feet of where a bomb disposal crew, under Marine Lt. Ed Curry of Boston Mass. was supervising the digging up of a string of Japanese duds and time bombs. Again a Japanese patrol harassing the Seabees got so close to the field that a Seabee was captured. When Seabee surveyors started laying out the field, they actually worked for several days beyond our lines. As they returned from work, they would chide the Marines. If you guys don't hurry up and take that country, we'll have the field finished before you get there. The Bougainville fields put dive bombers and torpedo planes within reach of Rabaul. The Piva field was ready for bombers less than six weeks after the Seabees broke ground. The toughest job was in pushing roads through swamps to it, often under Japanese fire. Once that was accomplished. the clearing, grading and surfacing proceeded swiftly.
  9. Seabees at Salerno!

    But Some never get Recognition! That is why I post these!
  10. Seabees at Salerno!

    BULLDOZER DECEMBER 2, 1943. Long after this struggle is over and every serviceman is home, the story of the heroic exploits of the Seabees shoulder to shoulder with the Rangers and Commandos at Salerno will be told at many a fireside throughout the country. And here's one that won't be overlooked. Shortly after the first landing. English Army Engineers were prevented from laying down a section of wire mesh roadway by heavy fire from a strongly entrenched German Maching gun nest. It couldn't stop a Seabee bulldozer, however from hauling several English trucks which had bogged down. The maching gun nest was finally cleared out, and Commandos were taking care of the Nazis, the trucks were rumbling their badly needed loads inland, thanks to Seabee resourcefulness and courage. Moving in on the exploding beaches together with the first wave of assault troops, and working under severe continuous maching gun, plane and shell fire, the battling builders piled vital supplies ashore, often completely unloading heavily packed LST's in less than an hour per ship. Picked Seabee platoons also unloaded roughly 10,000 vehicles at Salerno and earned high praise for excellent performance.
  11. At Guam, Marianas, Islands, two beach parties from the 53rd N.C.B., One officer and 17 enlisted men, equipped with several tractors, landed on D-Day (H-plus-5 minutes), July 21, 1944, with special mission to assist unloading a Marine Battery of Sherman Tanks from LCM's and LCT's at the edge of the reef at Agat Beach. This task was finished within an hour under heavy enemy mortar and machine gun fire. Three of the Sherman Tanks dropped into bomb craters on their way in from the reef to shore and were submerged. This party volunteered to rescue these tanks safely and succeeded in getting two of the tanks safely to the beach in two hours, under heavy fire. A second beach party of five enlisted men was assigned the task of operating a North West Crane, mounted on a pontoon barge and anchored off the reef of Agat Beach, to unload gasoline and ammunition from LCT's to LVT's in support of assault troops. The party, in charge of the same officer Lt. Reeves, landed on D-Day (H-plus-5) and worked day and night for five days, never leaving the barge. This barge was under heavy mortar fire for the first four days. An LST anchored alongside was hit by enemy artillery and withdrew. The remainder of the battalion moved ashore on D-plus-2 and established, maintained, and constructed roads and bridges in support of the assault troops. The Battalion's beach camp was under enemy artillery fire for four hours on D-plus-3. No enemy air raids were experienced, but sniper fire was in evidence, for a nine months period after D-day, in jungle locations. The 53rd's Demolition Squad, consisted of a Chief Petty Officer and 13 enlisted men. This squad cleared all beaches, roads, and areas ahead of the construction troops over a nine months period. Both Beach Parties have been recommended for special suitable awards. Before jungle could be cleared for road building operations, the squad had first to go out with it's mine detectors. Their efforts saved many lives among our number, without any doubt. There were also armed, unexploded naval shells to be disposed of in many places. And there were detonators to be removed from both friendly and enemy ordinance before much of it could be moved. While the 53rd NCB was attached to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, during the initial landing on Guam, they were detached from the Marines on July 27, 1944 and assigned to to duty under the Fifth Naval Construction Brigade.
  12. Seabees Say Work Does it - Pacific Jobs No Miracle: Milwaukee Jounal - July 16, 1945 By Robert J. Doyle GUAM- If you ask the Seabee Stevedores, they will tell you that the miracles worked in supplying our increasing forces in the Pacific are about 90% perspiration. Jake Haffner, Milwaukee Wisconsin, former chief clerk in the Milwaukee office of the FBI, is Chief Yeoman of a stevedore battalion which arrived on Guam nearly a year ago with the invasion forces. He tells how the men began unloading ships even before they came ashore and have been unloading cargo ever since, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The stevedores live in tents near the harbor. Five or six men sleep in each of the 14 foot square, screened tents. The climate is so warm that they sleep in their shorts and need neither blankets nor sheets. Their working hours compare to those in steel mills in America 50 years ago. The men are divided into day and night shifts. They reverse shifts every two weeks. Even figuring time off for meals, the men put in 60 to 70 hours a week, and no time and a half for overtime. HEAT IS CONSTANT; The stevedores draw the regular pay of Navy enlisted men, depending on their ratings. The base pay of the majority is less than $100 a month. Many Seabee construction outfits here now work eight hour shifts, six days a week, but the stevedores are so hard pressed to keep up with the ships constantly arriving that they have been unable to shorten their hours . The men seldom find relief from the heat. They work on the docks and on the decks and in the holds of ships, piling boxes into cargo nets and loading them on trucks. In the daytime their tents approach Turkish bath conditions. Haffner works in one of the Heaquarters office tents. He handles correspondence, reports and service records of the men. He worked in the Milwaukee FBI office from 1935-40 and then worked for Ford Motor Co. before entering the Navy in July 1943. He has been overseas for 19 months. CAME UNDER SHELLING; If any of the stevedores were downhearted, as the outfit waited in Hawaii for orders to move west, about the prospect of being service troops with nothing exciting to tell their grandchildren, that worry was thoroughly dispelled when Guam was invaded. After 59 days on the same crowded LST's caused by the neceassity of turning back a couple of times while our battle fleet slugged it out with Japanese forces, the invasion convoy arrived at Guam. The stevedores lined the decks to watch the dive bombers and shelling of the enemy positions and saw the assault troops go ashore. On D-plus-4 the LST on which Haffner was riding moved in and dropped it's ramp. The Japs had been waiting and they began peppering the LST with mortar shells, wounding some of the men. The ship backed away until the Jap mortar crew in an old concrete water tank was wiped out by dive bombers. Haffner and his comrades came ashore the next day and set up pup tents in a swampy area near the shore. The first night ashore included a mortar barrage and a suicide charge toward the camp area. RAN CAVE GAUNTLET; A few days later, Haffner and another man from the stevedore outfit were ordered to deliver a message to the Marine Headquaters. After delivering the message they took the wrong trail back and had run the gauntlet past many cave openings. Several enemy soldiers were killed in the caves by Marines the following day. About two weeks after the Marines and Soldiers landed on Guam, the stevedores in Haffner's outfit unloaded the first American ship to drop anchor in Apra harbor. Now, as they look at the harbor and other parts of the island, it is hard for the stevedores to realize that such great changes have taken place and such mountains of equipment and supplies have been unloaded in less than a year. It's a miracle - 90% perspiration.
  13. Seabee History WWII

    The practice of "absorbing" Seabee units into Marine units was commonplace in the Pacific, with one result being high casualty rates and another being under-reporting of their contributions to the cause, at places like Guadalcanal, Tarawa,Saipan, Peliliu, and Iwo Jima. Not many know, that besides Corpsmen, many Seabess also wore the USMC uniform.
  14. Seabee History WWII

    On 5 May, 1945, Roy E. Ellett, CM2c, and Quentin A. Carroll, MM2c, (130th NCB) did perform meritorious service in connection with military operations against the enemy on Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands. Serious fires were blazing in native structures adjacent to an important supply road. One burning structure collapsed on the road, halting traffic and endangering personnel and military vehicles. Ellet, without considering his own personal safety, drove his bulldozer into the flaming structure. Despite the intense heat and choking smoke, he cleared the burning debris from the road, permitting military traffic to flow again. A strong breeze threatened to set afire an entire block of buildings at an intersection of the "utmost importance" Despite the intense heat blown into his face, Carrol, without hesitation and disregarding his own personal safety, drove his bulldozer up over an embankment, pushing flaming buildings back to a safe distance and smothering the burning debris with dirt. Due to his outstanding service, MM2 Carrol made it possible for the flow of military traffic to be resumed. So reads the recommendation for the Bronze Star medal signed and attested to by 1st Lt. Leon T. Struble, and USMC Sgt. Warren E. Brenfman, Headquarters, 1st Engineer Battalion, who witnessed the incident and heaped high praise on both Ellet and Carroll. During those first two weeks in May, the battle for the Shuri defense zone had reached a deadlock with the Japs holding the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions on their left, the Army's 77th Division on their center and the 96th and 7th Army Divisions on their right. Two strongly defended points, Chocolate Drop Hill and Connical Hill, had to be taken, in order to encircle Shuri and trap a portion of Jap General Ushijimas forces. It was during this critical stage that the construction and maintenance of roads solved the problem of supply for the five fighting divisions. Carroll and Ellett, heavy equipment operators went beyond the call of duty to uphold the Seabee tradition "Can-Do". --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  15. Seabee History WWII

    Marine friend sent this! I often find myself wondering, who are they; when I hear the phrase "Unsung Hero's?" A hero is defined as: with courage, nobility, and one who fears no danger. Sixty-three years ago when I was age nineteen I met a group of people; some who were almost twice my age. I met them on a battlefield, on the island of Tinian, some eight thousand miles from our west coast They carried only small arms weapons while building the largest airfield in the world, that brought an ending to World War 2. Some history books have their deeds too deeply imbedded in the books back pages. Marines place their deeds much closer to the front pages. As a former World War 2 Marine Sergeant, I now realize when "War" holidays approach us, we are often reminded of deeds we didn't give much thought to, heroic acts we had to put on hold. These holidays have a way of making us remember those among us, who were the "Unsung Hero's" of the pacific, as we hop-scotched every island, on our way to victory over Japan. After sixty-two years, and my memory flashbacks of world war 2 courage, I'm still reminded of the warier with the "can do" the job attitude, tirelessness, and most of all; many times, being side by side with we the Marines, mopping up every foxhole and cave, until they were declared secure. If I were to continue writing it would take many pages to fully cover why this Marine, and all Marines are thankful that our government ordered our defense department to organize a much needed "Navy" construction force to aid our Marine Corps. It was then that skilled construction workers, patriotic "Older" men (average age 37) volunteered to answer the call. They needed little advanced training; they quickly excelled in small arms weapons training, and Navy discipline. The rest is history. Did I make you wait too long, or does my message assure you: "We, The Proud Marines" during World War 2 give thanks to our new found, and tireless comrades, "their" huge airfield on Tinian gave so many of us the thrill of coming home "alive" to our loved ones. Yes, the memories do come back. We now offer a strong firm handclasp to our best friends; the United States Navy Seabees. They are truly Americas "Unsung Hero's." Sgt. Dick Beard; USMC 1943-1945 Richard L. Beard
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