WW2 Seabee stories
Posted 14 December 2014 - 03:21 PM
Posted 15 December 2014 - 03:41 AM
"SEABEES COVER SELVES IN BOUGAINVILLE LANDING"
Posted 15 December 2014 - 05:32 AM
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Posted 15 December 2014 - 04:46 PM
40th The Seabees at Los Negros - In May 1944, on Los Negros island in the Admiralties, just north of eastern New Guinea, the 40th Seabee Battalion was assigned to the 1st Calvary Division of the Army. Its objective was to put the unused and much bombed Japanese airstrip at Momote into operation. The army captured the airfield, all right, but while the Seabees were at work on it, the Japanese counterattacked in greater force than anyone suspected was present. Two Seabee officers and 100 men took over a sector of the perimeter and occupied a trench that they dug with the battalion's ditch digger. They armed themselves with automatic rifles and knives, and set up a truck mounted 20 mm gun behind them. Meanwhile other Seabees landed and started to grade and clear the runways and taxiways in the midst of battle. Others drove bulldozers into the jungle to clear fire lanes for Army guns, using the blades now to clear a lane and again raised as a shield, behind which they fired at the enemy. In the Japanese assault, the Seabees distinguished themselves by capturing two machine gun positions and a Bofors gun. They took 47 casualties, with nine killed. General Macarthur awarded them the Army's Distinguished Unit Badge, and President Roosevelt gave them the Presidential Unit Citation.
Posted 15 December 2014 - 04:47 PM
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Posted 15 December 2014 - 04:49 PM
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Posted 16 December 2014 - 08:39 AM
Posted 16 December 2014 - 09:39 AM
thanks for posting these my Grandfather landed with the 36th at Bougainville.
Posted 17 December 2014 - 01:53 PM
Posted 17 December 2014 - 01:58 PM
Posted 19 December 2014 - 04:00 AM
Can-Do at Guadalcanal - The Seabee story of Guadalcanal begins on the afternoon of August 20, 1942, when 45 year old Commander Joseph P. Blundon (CEC, USNR) arrived in a PBY off Lunga Point and promptly reported to General A. A. Vandegrift. I guess I was the first Seabee to go under fire, Commander Blundon recalled. The Marines had been on Guadalcanal thirteen days, and they had a tiny beachhead around Henderson Field. While I was reporting to General Vandegrift, the Japanese bombers came over and I hit my first foxhole. A few days later my Sixth Seabee Battalion arrived, and we assumed full responsibility for the completion and maintenance of Henderson Field. The Japs had cleared an area 300 by 5600 feet, but it was by no means finished. The Japs were shelling the field with Howitzers, as well as bombing it night and day, and it was our job to keep the holes filled up while we finished the grading, laid Marston mat, built hardstands and revetments, and helped solve the fuel and ammunition problems. We had very little equipment, General Vandegrift assigned us a section of the beach to defend against the Japanese landings, and we figured we could defend the beach and still do the job at Henderson Field. We realized at the outset that the battle was going to turn on how fast we filled up holes and how fast we could develop that field. When the Japanese bombers approached, our fighters took off, the bombers blasted the airstrips, and then if we couldn't fill up those holes before our planes ran out of fuel, the planes would have to attempt to land anyway, and they would crash. I saw seven of our fighters crack up in one bitter afternoon. From "our" point of view the battle of Guadalcanal was a race between the Japanese artillery and the air force and the Sixth Seabee Battalion. We played our cards fast. We pitched our camp at the edge of the field to save time. We dug our foxholes right up alongside the landing area. We found that a 500 pound bomb would tear up 1600 square feet of Marstom Mat, so we placed packages of this quantity of mat along the strip, like extra rails along a railroad. We figured out how much sand and gravel was required to fill the average bomb or shell crater, and we loaded these measured amounts on trucks and placed the trucks under cover at strategic points. We had compressors and pneumatic hammers to pack the fill into the craters. We organized human assembly lines for passing up the pierced plank and laying it. Then when the Japanese bombers approached, every Seabee including even our cooks, manned his repair station. Our crater crews were lying in the foxholes right at the edge of the strip. The moment the bombers had passed over, these men boiled out of the holes and raced for the craters. Every man had to keep his eye peeled for Japanese strafing planes, and when the Japanese dived in, our men dived for the close at hand foxholes. We found that 100 Seabees could repair the damage of a 500-pound bomb hit on an airstrip on forty minutes. In twenty four hours on October 13 and 14, fifty-three bomb and shells hit the Henderson airstrip. During one hour on the 14th we filled thirteen bomb craters while our planes circled overhead waiting to land. In the period from September 1, to November 18, we had 140 Japanese raids in which the strip was hit at least once. Our worst moments were when the Japanese bomb or shell failed to explode when it hit. It still tore up our mat, and it had to come out. "When you see men choke down their fear and dive in after an unexploded bomb so that our planes can land safely, a lump comes in your throat and you know why America wins wars". Shell craters are more dangerous to work on than bomb craters. You have a feeling that no two bombs ever hit in the same place, but this isn't true of shells. A Japanese five-inch gun lobs a shell over on your airstrip and blasts a helluva hole. What are you going to do? You know, just as the that Japanese artillery man knows, that if he leaves his gun in the same position and fires another shell, the second shell will hit in almost the same spot as the first one. So a good old Japanese trick was to give us enough time to start repairing the hole and then fire the second shell. All you can do is depend on hearing that second shell coming and hope you can scramble far enough away before it explodes. But this is a gamble which is frowned upon by life insurance companies.
Edited by Bruce Linz, 02 May 2016 - 07:07 AM.
Posted 19 December 2014 - 07:05 PM
Vietnam Seabee story.
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