It was shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in fact only a couple of weeks after that infamous attack, that Rear Admiral Ben Morrell proposed to the Navy that they develop a new Navy unit called Construction Battalions. The day he made that proposal was Dec. 28, 1941.
This video is made up of a little bit of the history of the founding of the United States Navy Construction Battalions that would later come to be known as the Seabees, a phonetic take on the C and the B of the originally named Construction Battalions. But the rest of this short video is made up of interviews with some of the original Seabees who made up the first Construction Battalions. These battalions made up of all of the construction trades were commissioned on March 5, 1942. This year will be the 76th anniversary of their founding.
These Construction Battalions began to shape a proud history right from their inception. They are unique to the Navy as they are a land based force rather than a sea based force. Their value is in being able to build the necessary infrastructures to make a fighting force viable in a short period of time.
Because they were founded in a time of worldwide war, they had to be not only skilled in the various trades that are part and parcel with the construction industry, but they also had to be able to fight. Where they would be working and building would be on and near the front lines of battle.
The Seabees’ training and determination makes them the best at both building and fighting. Hence, their mottos are: “We Build, We Fight!” and “Can Do!”
The Seabees skill and bravery became instantly recognized in the Pacific Theater of WWII. They have been an integral part of our war fighting capabilities ever since. They served in Korea and, as a Khe Sanh veteran, I can tell you that there was a Seabee unit (CBMU 301) there with us in Vietnam, fighting and maintaining the ever assaulted infrastructure of the base during the entire siege. They had built that airstrip and all of our water, electrical and fuel infrastructure as well as our Charlie Med facilities.
The Seabees are sailors, but they are like no other. Listen to these old guys talk about their experiences with and love for the Seabees. They are a rightfully proud bunch of men and women.
The Veterans Site thanks those who have served and those who are presently serving in the U.S. Navy Construction Battalion Units today. You are the best and we honor your history and your continuing work both in war time and in humanitarian services around the world. You are the model of “Can Do” service.Whizzco