Jump to content


Photo

WW2 Seabee stories


  • Please log in to reply
216 replies to this topic

#1 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 14 December 2014 - 03:21 PM

"B" Company, Second Special US Naval Construction Battalion  
 
June 2 to September 1, 1944 Company B, Second Naval Construction Battalion (Special) was attached to the Third Marine Division during the invasion of the island of Guam, Mariana Islands. Personnel of the company landed on Beach Red One, after 73 days aboard the USS Crescent City in transit. Under Lt. Fick, and Ensign Berry, 51 member came ashore in Higgins Boats just before noon of D-Day, July 21, 1944. The company, under command of Lt. HH Allen CEC, USRN was assigned combat duty in addition to the stevedore operations involving in unloading ammunition, food and water on the beach. 
 
The first phase of the attack found the men ashore on the left flank of Beach Red One where they were used as a line of defense. Soon after coming ashore a land mine exploded in the midst of Ensign Berry’s squad wounding Bos’n mate Cook and Ship Fitter Pflugradt. These men were evacuated. Seaman First Class Van Buren has been missing since the explosion. Patrols under Lt. Fick and Ensign Berry were sent out during the first phase of the attack and were successful in killing enemy snipers and capturing rifles, nambus, and swards and in destroying other equipment. During the action, Bosun Mate LaChance was killed by sniper fire, Seaman First Class Sandy was wounded. Other squads of the company were employed in moving ammunition and food and water onto the beach from alligators Others were occupied with the operation of the camp set up at Beach Red One. This is probably the first stevedore company to be employed for combat duty. 
 
Patrols. 
 
Led by Lt. Fick and Ensign Berry, 35 men were ordered to patrol the area from Beach Red One to the left flank of Beach Green between the first and second ridges parallel to the beach. The patrol searched caves dug into the hills for snipers and succeeded in eliminating sniper activity from this area. Four enemy snipers were killed. The first was found in a coconut tree and killed by Mr. Berry with a .45 caliber pistol. He was dressed only in shorts and seemed to be an observer for Japanese mortar fire. 
 
The second sniper was found by the patrol in front of a cave sitting down. There was a great deal of equipment stacked in neat piles in front of the cave. The Japanese refused to surrender, but pulled his helmet over his face and began reaching for grenades. He was shot by the patrol. Conflicting accounts credit McWherter and Massey with the first shots. Grenades were thrown into the cave and in all probability any occupants were destroyed. Four machine guns, give “knee†mortars and nine rifles were captured. 
Reports reached the patrol that Boson Mate LaChance had been shot and killed by sniper fire and Chief Sanderson and Seaman First Class Sandy led volunteers to reclaim his body. Just as the patrol decided they were mistaken in their direction, they turned and flushed two snipers in the act of throwing a grenade. Chief Sanderson fired from port arms and killed the sniper. The grenade exploded and wounded Sandy. Splady in another section of the patrol, found and killed the fourth sniper. 
 
On the fourth day of the invasion, Japanese infiltration was reported in the area occupied by the company. They were discovered by a patrol under Mr. Berry which included Chief Sperry, Massey, Burns, Ryon, Gonzales and Splady. A marine patrol was in the line of fire until the marines moved away. Then, firing almost together, they killed one of the snipers. The other was later found and killed by Lt. Fick. 
 
A patrol including Lamp, Clark, Sinclair and Brannon was ordered to guard machine gun emplacements and fox holes at Red Beach One. During the night Japanese snipers were observed infiltrating this position. They did not fire for fear of disclosing their position to mortars up on the ridge. At dawn, the sniper was observed in a tree but could be seen only dimly against the background. As he started to climb down, WP Johnson, killed him. Another was fired on but many of the men believe he was already dead. 
 
On August 16, 1944, Massey, McWherter and Knox were looking for galley rags at an old dump near the present camp site. They were passing through a wooded sector when they noticed a small palm-thatched hut. McWherter made an opening in the palms and discovered a Japanese, probably asleep, and three rolls of gear. He fired, killing the Japanese. Massey fired on two others, wounding one. Conflicting stories credit Massey or McWherter with the dead Japanese. 
 
Interviews 
 
WP Johnson. 
 
Johnson came ashore on the third day and did patrol duty under Lt. Fick and Ensign Berry. He stood guard at the fox holes and machine gun emplacements. During the night, a Japanese was seen crawling back through toward the hospital and artillery emplacements below on the beach. He did not fire for fear of disclosing his position. He discovered that the Japanese had climbed a tree and was firing on some of the patrol. As day began to break, the Japanese could be dimly seen as he climbed down the tree. As he started down, Johnson fired and missed. Then he fired five more times and killed the Japanese. He saw a second sniper and fired four more rounds. (Some of the men believe this man was already dead). He fired at two others who were escaping through the lines but is not sure of results. Then he began work unloading rations with Amphibs and later on, ammo from the South African Victory. 
 
Jack Herget 
 
He came ashore at noon on D-Day on the tractor landing at the edge of a reef and driving on in. When he landed he looked for the outfit and discovered that they were on Red Beach One and that he would be unable to reach them until the road was cleared of mines. For two days he was alone. While there he did work with a radio jeep near the command post and served as a message carrier. While bringing the tractor in, the left headlight was smashed by shrapnel from mortar fire which fell all about him. On the third day, he rejoined the company and started to work repairing jeeps and trucks. The most impressive thing he observed was a charge up the hill made by Marines. Near the top they were pinned down and over a hundred were picked off, one by one, during the first three days. 
Mr. Massey. 
 
Came ashore D-Day about noon. The men landed from water buffaloes and were under machine gun fire all the way in. They landed at the left flank of Red Beach One and dug in all alone. They moved ammo in from the beach under fire. They could hear the Japs ordering the mortars to fire on them. A land mine exploded in the group. It was believed to be a land mine instead of a mortar because it left a large crater. They ran out of water and they went 300 yards down the beach for water, twice. The first night spent watching for a small boat attack as at Saipan. He was in a foxhole with Mr. Allen, Chief Sperry, McWherter and Roye. 
 
All night they noticed dirt was rolling into the hole from above and the next day two snipers were found in the cave above. The next day was spent dug in and the situation was pretty tight. The third day they were ordered to stand by for infiltration. After permission to fire was given by a Marine patrol, several of the group including Mr. Berry, Splady, Gonzales, Sperry, Burns and Ryon, fired and killed the Japanese. A relief squad under Mr. Fick killed another shortly thereafter. The next day Lt. Fick came by organizing a patrol, He and McWherter asked to go along on it. 
 
As they searched the caves and ridges, Mr. Berry found a Japanese in a coconut tree and killed him. Then part of the patrol came to a hollow on top of a hill and saw a Japanese leaning up against a cliff at the mouth of a cave. They tried to capture him but he refused to come out and instead, reached for some grenades as he pulled his helmet down over his face. They shot him. They knew there were other Japs from the piles of gear outside the café. With the patrol covering them they threw grenades into the cave entrance. They captured the gear and started back. Sandy met them and told them LaChance had been killed, Volunteers under Sandy’s direction went back to find the body. They found two Japs with grenades and Chief Sanderson killed one them. 
 
On the sixteenth of August while looking for rags, Knox and McWherter went with Massey through some woods near the camp. They walked upon three Japanese. The first noticed a number of flies and a foul odor, then, they saw the Japs. The Japanese were armed only with hand grenades. They killed one, and wounded the other in the side. They brought the body of the dead Japanese down onto the road and had the death verified by a Marine Captain. 
 
McWherter 
 
On patrol under Mr. Fick, Hemstree, and McWherter came suddenly on Japanese near a cave entrance at the top of the ridge. McWherter tried verbally and with sings to capture the man alive, but he didn’t respond. Finally he pulled his helmet over his face and tried to pick up a sack of grenades nearby. McWherter thought he was about set the fuse on a grenade and so he fired several rounds.Massey was coming up behind him, and he also fired, but McWherter believes he had already killed the Japanese. Also on August 16th, McWherter, Massey and Knox were passing thorough the woods back of cam when they came upon a thatched hut. Massey was 35 feet ahead and to the left. McWherter opened the thatch with his rifle and looked into the face of a Japanese. He began firing as he backed away and stumbled. Knox caught him by his belt and kept him from falling. The Japanese was dead. Massey fired at two others, wounding one. 
 
Knox 
 
He came ashore with Mr. Berry on D=Day. As he hit the beach he went into a foxhole and found two dead Marines there. Soon, a land mine exploded while they were moving supplies. He had a twisted ankle from the concussion and lost his shoe. He went up into position for the expected counter attack. They set up the stoves and on the third day succeeded in giving some hot food to the men. On August 16th he was with Massey and McWherter when they discovered three Japs in a small hut. McWherter fired as he stumbled and Knox caught him Altogether they fired 33 rounds in the fracas. 
 
Korth 
 
Came ashore with platoon four and was assigned to burying Marines and Japs who were dead in the foxholes near camp. They were occupied with serving as lines of defense and with setting up the temporary camp site. Estill was in the group and volunteered to help some Marines with mortar ammo. He was killed by a sniper as he went up the hill. The Marine next to him heard bullets whiz by, then Estill laughed and said he was hit. He died immediately. 
 
They were on Red Beach One about ten days. There were three men killed: Estill, LaChance, and Van Buren. The latter is listed, however, as still missing. Three men were wounded ncluding Sandy, DK, Cook, Pflugradt. Seven or eight Japanese were killed. Chief Sanderson, Johnson, Massey, McWherter, Mr. Berry, Lt Fick were credited with these along with others who fired multaneously. Other platoons were busy securing water, food, gas, medical supplies, clothing, and ammo and in maintaining headquarters for the company. All of the men worked until exhausted. 
 
Mr. Fick especially commended Romero and Chief Sanderson for their work on patrols. They were dependable, fearless, efficient in their activity. He believes McWherter probably has the truest account of the incident involving the Japanese at the cave, as he was nearby and was able to see a good bit of the action. 
 
Chief Haverland spent most of the first few days directing unloading operations on the ships at the beachhead. The men working the ships were commended by various captains for their energy and efficiency. Most of platoons Two and Three were employed in this duty. 

 



#2 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 December 2014 - 03:41 AM

"SEABEES COVER SELVES IN BOUGAINVILLE LANDING"

 

 
Sizable detachments of Seabees, who stormed ashore with Marine assault trrops in the first,second, and third waves to land on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, distinguished themselves by the skill and valor with which they filled their combat assignments. 
 
 
As the invasion forces approached the enemy beaches, the Seabees manned machine guns on Higgins boats, tank lighters and landing craft. Dare-devil builders leaped ashore from the first boats to nudge into the sand, and unloaded fuel, ammunition, rations and packs while heavy fighting broke out all about them on the beaches. Then, as the Japs were driven back into the jungle, the Seabees manned beach defenses side-by-side with the Marines. 
 
 
In addition to these activities, which were beyond the normal call of duty, the volunteer group of 100 Seabee officers and men who landed with the first wave also were credited with additional acts of bravery performed with complete disregard for their personal safety. 
 
 
Landing craft from one transport had to pass through a narrow channel between two small islands just off Bougainville. Japanese machine gun nests on the inside of both islands had been firing upon every boat that attempted to move through the channel until Seabees manning landing craft guns effectively liquidated them. The Seabee sharp-shooters also helped drive away Japanese Zeroes that attacked the mother ship. 
 
 
On landing, the rugged construction men rushes supplies from landing craft to combat line. Seabees carried ammunition and water to the front and, as was learned later, kept a group of Marines from being wiped out because of lack of supplies. 
 
 
One Seabee jumped aboard a crippled tractor after its Marine driver had been shot off, hauled large quantities of ammunition, and helped place 20-mm anti-aircraft guns. Another group of the aroused builders riddled enemy pillboxes while Marines moved in to remove the Japs with hand grenades. Still other Seabees moved a Marine heavy artillery battery to the front. 
 
 
Without thought for their own safety, the Navy Construction men carried wounded from the front lines to the landing craft which would return the casualties to the transports for immediate evacuation. The Seabees scooped out foxholes, not only for themselves and the Marines, but for the injured who were unable to dig their own. 
 
 
When one of the landing craft was hit by heavy artillery fire, a Seabee officer helped unload the wounded and badly needed supplies while other Seabees held the Japs at bay. 
 
The medical department set up a first aid station and treated men on the front lines (which were still the beach) with morphine and bandages carried in their packs. The first night of the landing, the Seabee detachment was assigned the defense of a portion of the beach. The volunteer group continued to hold this area for the next twenty-four days. 
 
 
For days after the landing, the battling builders teamed up with Marine patrols to locate and neutralize Japanese snipers infiltrating through the lines. 
 
 
From the small galley they had set up on the beach, Seabee cooks served hot meals to men on the front lines a few hundred yards away. 


#3 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 December 2014 - 05:32 AM

Landing under fire at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville, Seabees first joined with Marines in defending the beaches against counter-attack, then got busy on construction of military roads feeding front lines. The fighting builders ran one of their roads 700 yards in advance of the Marines' front lines before the Leathernecks yelled for them to hold up a while


#4 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 December 2014 - 05:34 AM

If you guys don't hurry up and take that country we'll have the field finished before you get there,Seabees chided Marines on Bougainville, the Associated Press reports. 
 
The Fighter-Builders were returning from their Job of surveying an airfield site well in advance of American front lines. They had been ahead of the assault force for days. 
 
When the strip, at the base of a fuming Volcano, was finally secured, Japanese patrols were still close enough to capture one of the Navy's battling oonstruction men. 
 
According to an official report, the Seabee bivouac area was so close to the Japanese lines that bulldozer operators and survey parties on the strip had been harassed by snipers and one Seabee killed within the camp. 


#5 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

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.



#6 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 December 2014 - 04:47 PM

Vella Lavella - 58th Naval Construction Battalion 
 
On August 11, 1943, the 58th prepared to embark from Guadalcanal for the landing on Vella Lavella. An advance party went ahead to survey the site for the air strip and mark the beach for the landing. This party was composed of the Skipper, CDR. Lewis, Lt. Reynolds, Lt. Currie, W.O. Smith, W. Moss, and F.J. Dowling. CCM. The scouting party boarded PT Boats at Guadalcanal on the afternoon of August 11 for the overnight run up to Vella Lavella. It was a rough trip and not only did the party suffer PT sickness but were spotted by Japanese planes who bombed and strafed them for nearly two hours. Lt. Reynolds said afterwards, there was nothing else for us to do but lie under the torpedo tubes and pray. After awhile of praying that the bombs would not hit us, we thought better of it and decided that the bombs were not as bad as the sea sickness. The party sneaked ashore just before daylight on August 12. The island was alive with Japanese patrols but they evaded them and began surveying the landing and air-strip sites. However, they did encounter some Japanese, who were wiped out to the man. The men were looking forward to the 15th, when the first detachment of the battalion was due to land, because the Japanese patrols were becoming larger. Well, if the advance party were having trouble with the Japanese patrols, so was the main landing party. The first detachment to embark boarded two LCI's and two LST's at Koli Point on August 13th. On the night of the 13th, the craft were lying off Lunga Point when Japanese planes attacked them. The attack lasted three hours and during it, The John Penn was sunk, the ship we had come to Guadalcanal from the Fiji's. On the morning of the 14th, the convoy shoved off and, at dawn of the 15th, it approached the beach at Vella Lavella. We began to unload the cargo from the ships at Barakoma Village. The boys with the "BAR's" were acting as guards, and the unloading proceeded very swiftly as we had practiced it many times back on the "Canal". As the ramps of the LST's came down, men and vehicles rolled out, as most of our equipment was on six wheelers, and bumped into the jungles. Bulldozers were sent ashore and soon coconut and palm trees came crashing down and pushed over with yards of coral to form ramps to the ships. Meanwhile, long lines of men waistdeep in water passed boxes of supplies and equipment, for on LCI's all cargo must be man-handled. We all worked feverishly because we knew it was only a matter of a shorter space of time before the Japanese planes would be on us as the whole landing operation could be observed from enemy lookouts on Kolombangara only thirteen miles across the water. Quite suddenly, the alarm was sounded and all hell broke loose. Every one took off for the boomddocks or the ships. High in the sky, planese zoomed and droaned, their machine guns spitting leaden death. The first attack lasted five minutes and seemed hours, then it began again, through some miracle, none of the gan were hurt. When the attack was over, we completed the unloading and moved up a hill to dig in for the night as best we could in foxholes. There were so many attacks during all of the day and the night that it was a continual "Condition Red". The second echelon landed on august 17 at 1800 and this landing was a mistake, since their was no air coverage from Munda at this late hour in the day. The only defense we had was the few anti-aircraft guns that had been set up. Attempts were made to unload the ships but the constant air attacks made this impossible. The LST's pulled off the beach and one of them was hit and had to be sunk. We lost considerable equipment on this ship. The next day, the remaining two were beached and were unloaded. The third wave landed on August 22nd. This bunch really got the business for, by now, the Japanese really had us spotted and knew what we were about to do. In the early morning about 1000, they came over and bombed us at about 800 feet. At top speed, screaming eerily over the jungle, the Japanese bombers flew to the attack. The ships gunners returned their fire, but still the planes came in and released their loads of destruction. In a formation of six, one suddenly wavers and to the cheers of the gang, it bursts into a bright pyre of flames as the gunners found their mark. The other five however, broke through and plastered us. They didn't miss the target at this range and of the fifteen bombs that fell, not one was less than a hundred yards from the ships. It was a literal rain of death, when the bombers pulled out of their shrieking plunge, not a man on the ships deck was left standing. The guns were either blasted to scrap or choked with coral dust. While the smoke and dust of the explosions still blanketed the ships, the gang on the beach and below the decks swarmed aboard to clean up. They found the decks littered with coral boulders, wounded and dead shipmates. Many men of the battalion had manned guns during this raid and Roger Poulin, Sam Barker and Steve Pavlick of Company "D" were badly wounded. On the beach lay Bob Neumann, CM3C, our first fatal casualty of the enemy. The fourth wave arrived on August 26th and the fifth on Agust 31st and by this time raids were lessened due to the Marine Defense Battalion being set up in action. During the first few days of the landings over 34 Japanese planes were shot down with only a loss of two of hours. After the landings, we set about to build a campsite and establish an airfield previously surveyed by the advance party. Slow progress was made because we were constantly under "Condition Red" because of the lack of air protection in the first few days. Vella Lavella was captured by by-passing other islands fortified by the Japanese, such as Kolombangara,Ganongga,Gizo and several other smaller islands north of Munda in the New Georgia group. The Munda airfield was still subject to night attacks which were quite frequent and, of course, Vella being North of Munda, they had us coming or going. Major General, Twining, Commander of aircraft in the Solomons at that time said, it was the toughest, densest jungle in all the South Pacific, and the 58th Seabees have constructed a modern field set up for bomber fighter transport craft, whipped the field in shape in record time making it the best in the Solomons although the "hardest to construct"


#7 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 December 2014 - 04:48 PM

Off icial account of the 53rd Seabee Battalion's work while in support of the 3rd Marine Division on Bougainville, covering the period November 1-24, 1943. Two Hundred and forty-four men, the Ifficer in Charge, seven officers and one bulldozer landed in the second wave with the Second Raider Battalion on Beach Green-2 (on D-Day, November 1). This group acted as shore-party for the unloading of the USS George Clymer. This work was concluded early in the afternoon of D-Day. 
 
Seventy-four men, two officers, and one bulldozer landed in the second wave on Puruata Island, with the Third Raider Battalion and one battery of the Third Defense Battalion. This group acted as shore-party in unloading their ship, and assisted the Third Defense Battalion battery in securing their positions. This detail remained with the battery for eight days. Twenty three men, one officer and one bulldozer landed in the first and second waves on Beach Yellow-4 and assisted as shore-party temporarily, their principal mission being assistance to the third defense Battalion in securing their battery positions. One man, with bulldozer and one officer landed in the second wave on Beach Blue-1 to assist the Third Defense Battalion in securing their battery positions. On November 2 about one hundred men and two officers from Beach Green-2 were assigned to assist the battery for three days. 
On November 2 all available men were constructing bridges and pioneer road along the Piva Trail from Beach Yellow-1. No amount of construction equipment was available until November 6, and progress was slow through the swamps. This project was later expanded to include a pioneer road from Blue-1 and extension of the Piva Trail to an intersection with the Piva Road near Piva. On November 6 an additional six Officers, 179 men, and considerable construction equipment were landed on Puruata Island. These troops were transferred to the mainland on November 9, and assigned to road construction. Here, at Empress Augusta Bay, was once again seen the close relationship and cameraderie which existed between the Seabees and the Marines. The main road, when completed, was named "Marine Drive" and dedicated, with deep affection, 'To our very good friend, the Fighting Marines". A large sign, announcing this fact, was placed at one of the roads terminals. 
On November 15, work was started on a two-lane road up the Piva River from the beach. On November 30, this road was open to traffic to the southeast corner of the Piva Airfield site. The Piva Trail pioneer road was 85 percent completed at this time. Survey crews, on November 4, started surveys from Yellow-2, and, on November 10, these crews started preliminary surveys for the Piva Airfield. These crews worked under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as sporadic enemy opposition was encountered in these areas until about November 30. The various detachments of the Battalion landing on D-Day were under operational control of the Third Marine Division until November 8, at which time they reverted to the control of the Commanding General, First Marine Amphibious Corps. Up to November 24, a total of two miles of primary highway and 1.8 miles of pioneer road had been constructed. A majority of this work was through extremely difficult swamps and jungles, and a considerable portion of these roads were built on corduroy brush mats, by hand. 
"Miscellaneous activities included" 
1. Construction of operational dugouts for First Marine Amphibious Corps, numbered among these was the elaborate one built for the personal use of Admiral Halsey. 
2. Hauling ammunition and rations on Affe trailers to the front lines, until relieved of this duty by the Third Division. 
3. Start of development of a coral pit on Torokina Point. 
4. Construction of emergency operating tent and hospital ward for Third defense Battalion Medical Officer, and the loan to him of the assistance of two Battalion medical officers and several Corpsmen to care for Raider casualties during the first ten days. 
Available records indicate 81 enemy air alerts in which enemy planes were overhead and bombs were dropped. Enemy artillery, mortar and machine gun fire existed on the beaches November 1st and 2nd. Sniper fire existed for the entire two months period in the jungle. Its assigned missions successfully and commendably completed, the 53rd returned from Both Vella Lavella and Bougainville during the middle of January, 1944, to its former camp at Doma Cove, Guadalcanal. Once again we were to undertake extensive and vigorous Marine Amphibious training. But this time, there was also much construction to be done. Since our previous camp had been occupied by other troops during our absence or had been rendered useless by changing conditions and our expanding requirements, we built a camp for ourselves before turning to the construction of a 1,500-man Marine camp. 


#8 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 December 2014 - 04:49 PM

GUAM, MARIANAS 53rd NCB - SEABEES 
 
Early in June, 1944, the 53rd was attached to the First Provisional Marine Brigade, for the assault operation on Guam, in the Marianas group. Leaving a rear echelon of two officers and 79 men, the remainder of the Battalion embarked on two ships, on june 6, 1944. En-route to the island, plans for the Battalion's part in the invasion were carefully laid and gone over almost daily. Two special beach parties, composed of volunteers, were assigned to assist in the landing operations and unloading of supplies on D-Day, June 21. 
 
The remainder of the Battalion moved ashore on D-Plus-3, to set up their camp near Agat Village. Concurrently with the construction of quarters for themselves, the Bees were almost continuously occupied with the task of clearing debris from existing roads, clearing jungle, and constructing new roads to facilitate movement of supplies to the Marines at the front.LT. Commander Thompson's official report of the Battalion's activities on the Guam invasion is Quoted: 
 
At Guam, Marianas, two beach parties were assigned from the 53rd NCB. One officer and 17 enlisted men, euipped 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 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 barge was under heavy mortar fire for the first four days.. The remainder of the Battalion moved ashore on D-Plus-3 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. The 53rd NCB maintained the only Seabee Demolition Squad on the island, consisting of a Chief Petty Officer and 13 enlisted men.. This squad cleared all beaches, roads and areas ahead of construction troops over a nine months period. 
 
While the 53rd NCB was attached to the First Provisional Brigade, during the initial landing on Guam, they were detached from the Marines on July 27, 1944, and assigned duty under the Fifth Naval Construction Brigade. 


#9 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 December 2014 - 04:59 PM

 
The Battle for Tarawa 
 
“The time has come,” the commander said, 
“When we must fight once more; 
So pack your gear and shoulder your gun, 
We will board the ship at four.” 
 
We boarded the ship in New Zealand 
For a place we knew not where. 
But deep down in our hearts we thought 
Of the hardships we’d have to bear 
 
Twenty long days and twenty long nights 
It took to reach the Atolls 
We wiped off our guns and counted our shells 
And loosened the straps on our rolls 
 
Then came the word, “All hands topside” 
And our boats were lowered to sea I’ll tell you every man was scared 
And we prayed for the things to be. 
 
Our fleet was constantly pounding the isle 
To make things easier on shore 
Then they finally slacked up around noon 
To let our fighting men score 
 
The first wave shoved off for “Helen” 
The coral reefs made it tough; 
The tank bogged down, the boats were sunk 
My God, those boys died rough. 
 
 
 
Machine gun nests were thick on the beach 
But our men struggled nearer the sand 
Some of them died in the water 
Some of them died on the land. That was the first wave I have told about 
Then the second wave moved in 
‘Twas the same thing, but their lines grew weak 
And some of the boys wore a grin. 
 
Now the Marines kept pouring in 
From the places a rat wouldn’t go 
They tromped over bodies of dead Japanese 
And onward to finish the foe. 
 
Then our boys had formed a line 
And darted from tree to tree 
But the Japs were camouflaged so slick 
It made them hard to see. 
 
Japanese snipers in the tree tops 
Pill boxes on the ground 
Mortar shells were flying everywhere 
Hell was all around. Those pill boxes I spoke about 
Were concrete, logs and steel 
And the contents of the hole below 
Our bombs could not reveal. 
 
Our tanks pulled right up to those holes 
And fired again and again 
Now you can bet that it made Hell 
For those stubborn Japs within. 
 
Flame throwers left a path of death 
And burned everything in sight 
It didn’t take long for those Japs to decide 
That the Marines, too, could fight. 
 
Imperial Marines the Japs called themselves 
They were supposed to be tough 
But they soon found out that U.S.M.C. 
Was built of the rugged and rough. Do not under-estimate our slant-eyed foes 
They were fortified to the tee 
But it took the Second Division 
To set up another V. 
 
Exterminated Japs filled every hole 
And soon began to smell 
On blood-stained coral we made our beds 
And slept in that living Hell. 
 
Four thousand Japs were slain on that island 
Pill boxes numbered five hundred 
Soon the air strip was repaired 
Again our Air Force thundered. 
 
More than eleven hundred Marines lost their lives 
They put up a #### good fight 
I salute each and everyone 
Whom we buried the following night. ‘Twas the bloodiest battle in Marine history 
Well done, what a service rendered! 
I’m sure as long as time may go 
Their victory will be remembered. 
 
Just one word for the Seabees 
In discussion they’re always left out 
But the fighting 18th was there from the first 
And they were the last to move out. 
 
Written by: 
 
Claude William Hepp enlisted in the Navy Seabees (Naval Construction Battalion) Jan 13, 1943. He was a carpenter’s mate, third class and his unit was assigned to the 18th Marine Combat Engineers, Second Marine Division sent to the South Pacific. He wrote this poem after participating in the battle at Tarawa, April 1944. Claude died during the bloody invasion of Saipan and was buried at sea two days after his 22nd birthday.


#10 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 16 December 2014 - 08:39 AM

MEMORIES OF A WW2 SEABEE VETERAN ATTACHED TO THE 4TH MARINE DIVISION 
 
ON ROI AND NAMUR I HAD A 30 CAL. CARBINE. IT WAS EVIDENTLY AN ACCEPTABLE WEAPON FOR THE WORK THAT WE WERE ASSIGNED IN THE MARSHALLS. WE WENT BACK TO MAUI FOR REFIT AND RETRAINING AND I WAS GIVEN A "BAR" I'M NOT SURE HOW THEY PICKED THE GUYS FOR THE "BAR'S", BUT IT SEEMED LIKE THEY PICKED ALL BIG GUYS. I WAS ABOUT 6FT 2 INCHES OR BETTER, MY FRIEND WAS ABOUT MY SIZE AND THE THIRD GUY WAS BIG AS WELL. MAYBE, THEY THOUGHT THE BIGGER GUYS COULD HANDLE THE 16-17 POUND WEAPON PLUS ALL THE AMMO CLIPS. ANYWAY, WE WERE ISSUED WEAPONS AND HAD TO CLEAN THE COSMOLINE FROM THEM. THEN THERE WAS TRAINING IN THEIR USE. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT MY TRAINING WAS ADEQUATE. WE DID NOT HAVE MARINE INSTRUCTORS. I DID GET TO SHOOT UP A LOT OF ROUNDS IN HAWAII AND CERTAINLY MADE A LOT OF NOISE. 
 
MY FIRST MISTAKE WITH THE NEW WEAPON WAS JUST MINUTES AFTER I LANDED ON SAIPAN. I DROPPED INTO A DITCH WITH MY AMMO GUY. I LOOKED TOWARD TOWARD THE FRONT THEN EXPOSED MY RIFLE OVER THE LIP OF THE DITCH -- "WHAM", A BULLET PASSED RIGHT BESIDE THE BI-POD AND WHISTLED BY MY EAR. I TOOK A SECOND LOOK AND THEN GOT TO SHOOT BACK. 
 
MY JOB WAS TO PROTECT THE GUYS WHO WERE WORKING ON THE BEACH. YOU CAN'T IMAGINE THE MAYHEM THAT OCCURS ON A BEACH WHEN IT IS BEING SHELLED. THE STUFF GETS PILED UP, A LANDING CRAFT IS HIT AND BLOCKING, GUYS YELLING, OTHER BOATS ARE WAITING TO GET ON SHORE. I'M ALRIGHT, HOWEVER, BECAUSE I'M DUG IN PROVIDING "PROTECTION" FOR THE GUYS WORKING ON THE BEACH. AFTER WE GOT SOME CONTROL ON THE BEACH AND EVERYTHING STARTED MOVING WELL TO THE FRONT, THEY TOOK OUR GUYS TO ASLITO AIR STRIP TO CLEAN IT, REPAIR THE HOLES AND OTHERWISE GET IT READY FOR OUR PLANES TO USE. HERE AGAIN, MY JOB WAS TO "PROTECT" THE WORKERS. BOTH MY TEAM AND ANOTHER "BAR" TEAM AND AN AIR COOLED 30 CAL. MACHINE GUN HAD THE DUTY ON THE WORST DEFENDED END OF THE STRIP. WE TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE MAJOR DRAINAGE SYSTEM FOR PRETTY GOOD COVER. THERE WAS SPORADIC RIFLE FIRE AROUND AND LOTS OF UNCERTAINTY, BUT IT WORKED OUT WELL AND WE GOT THE FIELD UP AND RUNNING IN RECORD TIME. WE SOON HAD OUR PLANES LANDING AND TAKING OFF IN SORTIES HELPING OUR RIFLE COMPANIES. 
 
WHILE IN DRAINAGE DITCHES WE GOT THE WORD THAT THE JAPANESE WERE MOUNTING A NAVAL ATTACK ON SAIPAN. SOMEONE MENTIONED PARATROOPS AND THAT MEANT THAT THEY WOULD MOST LIKELY USE THE AIRSTRIP FOR PLANES OR LANDING AREAS. ANYWAY, I THOUGHT THIS IS IT FOR ME. BUT, AS HISTORIANS KNOW, THE JAPANESE DID NOT REACH US, THE FAMED MARIANAS "TURKEY SHOOT" TOOK PLACE IN WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN THE PACIFIC AS IT RELATES TO JAPANESE AIR POWER AND LOST CARRIERS. 
 
WHEN WE GOT TO TINIAN MY BAR WAS USED AGAIN AS I HELD WATCH AT SUGAR CANE BREAKS. YOU TALK ABOUT SOMETHING EERIE, YOU HEAR THE WIND BLOWING THROUGH THE CANE, OF COURSE THINKING IT IS JAPS COMING AFTER YOU. CARRYING A BAR DID PUT YOU IN HARMS WAY AT TIMES. BUT, THE RIFLE COMPANIES IN THE MARINES USED THEIR BAR MEN AS POINT MEN OFTEN. THE FIREPOWER WAS THERE, BUT BAR MEN WERE ALSO REALLY TARGETED BY THE JAPS. 
 
MY AMMO CARRIER HAS TOLD STORIES OF OUR SHOOTING EXPERIENCES. HE GAVE ME MORE CREDIT THAN I CAN PROVE. BUT, THATS REVISIONIST HISTORY, ISN'T IT? THEN AGAIN, HE MAY HAVE BEEN IN A BETTER POSITION TO SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING. WHEN A BAR IS BEING FIRED ITS A NOISY AND JUMPY PLACE, AT LEAST THATS WHAT I FOUND.


#11 BROBS

BROBS
  • Members
    • Member ID: 114,538
  • 4,394 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:in a sod chalet, IA

Posted 16 December 2014 - 09:39 AM

thanks for posting these my Grandfather landed with the 36th at Bougainville.

 

-Brian



#12 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 17 December 2014 - 01:53 PM

 
Seabee CCM Joseph R. Bumgarner, of  N.C. has been commended by Major General Allen H. Turnage of the Marines for risking his life to evacuate Marine and Seabee casualties from a Japanese mortar barrage during the Bougainville invasion. 
According to Marine Combat Correspondent Maurice E. Moran, Bumgarner was in charge of a detail building bridges in advance of the front lines, when the Japs attacked another Seabee road-cutting detail and their Marine security guard, killing seven and wounding 20. Chief Bumgarner went to their rescue and had the injured men brought to safety. The trail which the Seabees were cutting later proved a vital supply route in a ,Marine drive which took an important objective. 


#13 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 17 December 2014 - 01:58 PM

SEABEES DROVE BACK JAPANESE THREE TIMES AT LOS NEGROS
 
Defending Los Negros airfield in hand-to-hand combat, a hundred fighting Seabees repeatedly threw back Japanese assaults upon their front-line positions inflicting heavy losses, it was officially revealed today. The defenders, who, for two successive nights, manned their no-man's land posts side by side with Army' assault troops, stopped three Japanese attacks cold, suffering only minor casualties themselves.
 
This was the action, reported in last week's News Service, in which 19-year-old Edward O'Brien, CM3c, killed 16 Japanese single-handedly and then, at the height of the battle, organized a ten-man Seabee patrol which held a portion of the line for five hours and slaughtered 320 fanatically-charging Japanese.) 
"The sailors don't seem to care, - a wounded cavalryman told "Yank" combat correspondent Cpl. Bill Alcirie, "They see the enemy, they have a grenade, and they run after him like they were kids playing at war.


#14 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

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.


#15 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 19 December 2014 - 07:05 PM

Vietnam Seabee story.

 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO EARN A SILVER STAR?
GODFREY, A UNITED STATES NAVY SEABEE…
 
I have a Seabee Story to tell about a Special Forces (Green Beret) Camp Thien Phuoc A-102 in I Corps Tactical Zone, South Vietnam 1968-69.
 
Intelligence was telling us that there was a huge build up of North Vietnamese Soldiers in and around our Special Forces "A" Team (late 1968, early 1969). Most intelligence indicated that the North Vietnamese were going to launch an offensive during TET of 69 to cut the country into thirds and we were involved in some way, yet our intelligence did not reflect how. .
 
I kept calling DaNang (C1 our C Team and Higher Hqrs) asking for Engineer support to fix my C-123 dirt runway.
 
Call after call went in, and finally I threatened to call my Higher Headquarters in Nha Trang for help.
 
The Combat activity was really picking up and everyone knew something was about to hit the fan. I had taken "Operation Santa Claus" out three weeks late (on 6 Jan 69) and encountered an NVA Regiment moving southeast of our Camp and toward the industrial area of An Hoa, VN. Besides the NVA Regulars there were over 500 slave porters.
 
After fixing their route we were able to bring in 155 MM Artillery and kill or wound over 1000 enemy troops that day, still not knowing or realizing what was in store for us.
 
In early 1969 a huge Sikorsky crane flew into our Camp with Engineer Equipment dangling underneath it. The crane let down and placed each piece of equipment on the runway then it landed and a man got out. The crane took off and the man began moving the equipment to the south side of the runway.
 
I was looking through my binoculars as the rest of my team kept asking, "who is this guy", and commenting that " he is going to get his butt killed".
 
We all jumped in our jeeps and 3/4 ton trucks; lock and loaded the 30 caliber Machine Guns and proceeded to the runway as fast as we could.
 
This guy was just getting out of a dump truck when I noticed he had on a uniform I did not recognize with some kind of odd rank on it.
 
I asked him who he was and he said, "I'm Godfrey, from some unit that I couldn't understand", then I asked him what the heck he thought he was doing and he told me he was there to fix my runway!
 
I asked him when the rest of the guys were going to show up and he told me, "he was it" the whole enchilada and he would be able to take care of what ever needed to be done.
 
I must digress, Years before I had an "A" team in II Corps, A-222 Dong Tre and we were kicking Charlie's butt and racking up a high kill count each month. Well General Westmoreland flew in to check us out. After he was satisfied with our briefings he asked what he could do for us to help us continue to kill enemy soldiers. The first thing out of my mouth was, "We Need A Runway".
 
Well we got it (a C-130 runway) and the Army brought in an Engineer "Company" and a mine sweeping platoon and lots of security. I later found out it takes a platoon to build a runway, but I wasn't complaining.
 
So here I had "one" guy, with three pieces of equipment, to repair a C-123 dirt runway, full of mortar and rocket holes and surrounded by bad guys.
 
I finally got around to asking Godfrey what unit he was with, I knew he wasn't Army. He said he was a Seabee and I said, "no kidding", my father told me you guys could build anything". My father (A Navy Guy) spent 8 1/2 years in the Pacific before, during and after the WWII. All he ever did was brag about the Seabees.
 
So I asked him what his rank was. He told me, and I didn't know anymore than I did before I asked him. Then I said what is that in "E" ranks, for example E3, E4 etc. He said he was an E4.
 
I then asked him if he was sure he could handle the job. He laughed and said it was a piece of cake. I told him how dangerous it was around there and informed him that a Special Forces "A" Team had two Engineers assigned to them. He accepted that and I immediately assigned both guys to him even though they both outranked him. I also put a platoon of my "Strikers" (Mercenaries) around the field for security.
 
He worked from daylight to dark everyday and his coming and going got pretty routine. I had forgotten about him until the night and morning of 22-23 February 1969.
 
Just after 2AM the proverbial crap hit the fan. We didn't know it at the time but we had come under siege by an NVA Heavy Weapons Regiment. We fought all night and into the morning against human wave attack after human wave attack. The Camp held because of the Artillery Battery was firing direct fire into the frontal assaults on our perimeters.
 
Then after a very bad rocket attack just after dawn on the 23d (my XO and Senior Medic were both seriously wounded) Godfrey came up to me and asked what he could do to help.
 
He told me his equipment had been destroyed and he wanted to help fight. I asked him what else he could do besides drive heavy engineer equipment. He told me that Seabees were all trained on 50 Caliber Machine Guns and he was an expert. I was ecstatic.
 
I put Godfrey and my Team Sergeant, MSG Ramon Mori (who was suppose to have left (DEROS) for the US that day, but couldn’t get out of the Camp because of the intense Rocket and Mortar fire). Godfrey and MSG More were located on the eastern side of the Tactical Operations Center covering the high-speed approaches from the East. They had a well constructed Bunker and had tons of Ammo and Extra Barrels for the 50 Cal.
 
Both of them fought independently as needed and with great Valor for 9 days.
 
I finally realized that I hadn't seen or heard from them for a long time. At first I remember hearing the 50 going off all the time outside my Tactical Operation Center (TOC), then firing became routine as we received hundreds of incoming mortar and rocket fire rounds followed by human wave assaults. .(It was estimated that over 4000 indirect rounds were fired into an area 200 yards wide during the Siege of Tien Phuoc) and during the first 9 days of the Siege the NVA suffered over 900 killed and wounded.
 
The Siege continued until 15 July 1969 but Godfrey was medivaced around the 5th or 6th of March after I found out he had been wounded and continued to fight.
 
We had 784 defenders at Tien Phuoc and we took on 3 NVA Divisions. A total of 30,000 men.
 
The Americal Division and the 101st Airborne came in and saved our bacon, as did TAC Air from all the Services (Air Force, Navy TAC Air, and Marine Heavy Bombers) and the Americal 155 Battery in our "Camp", but our Special Forces Team took hundreds of the enemy with us and Godfrey was a big, big part of that effort.
 
I was so impressed with what my Team Sergeant told me Godfrey had done in Combat and in defending my "A" Camp that I contacted his Headquarters in Da Nang and recommended him for the Silver Star and a Battle Field Promotion.
 
He received a Purple Heart for his Combat Wounds, the Bronze Star w/V for Valor, and was promoted to E5.
 
I was at the dinner when his Commanding Officer (A Navy Captain 06) and his unit honored him with his combat decorations and his battle field promotion.
 
My Team and I honor Godfrey to this day as part of my team and as a brother Warrior.
 
That is my Seabee Story, about a guy named Godfrey.
 
I never did know his first name, but he was one hellova Engineer.
 
He fixed our Runway well enough for us to get our resupplies in during a 5 month siege of my "A" Team (Special Forces Camp), and he still had time to kill a whole bunch of bad guys.
 
John E. Cleckner Sr. 
Major, United States Army Special Forces Retired


#16 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 20 December 2014 - 03:59 PM

ALFRED H. TESHEE, 133RD N.C.B. IWO-JIMA.  2/19/45
 
WE LANDED AT H-HOUR PLUS 30 MINUTES, WITH MORTAR SHELLS EXPLODING ALL AROUND US FROM 50 YARDS OUT, ON IN. I WAS AN ASSISTANT BAR MAN WITH THE PERIMETER BEACH GUARD, AND WAS CARRYING AMMUNITION FOR MY AUTOMATIC RIFLEMAN. AS SOON AS WE HIT THE BEACHES WE TRIED TO DIG IN. BUT IT GOT TOO HOT, AND FOR PROTECTION WE ADVANCED TO THE TERRACES WHICH ROSE FROM THE BEACH TO THE AIRSTRIP.  THE JAPANESE WERE ENTRENCHED EVERYWHERE, IN PILLBOXES,FOXHOLES AND EVEN AMONG THE WRECKED PLANES ALONG THE EDGE OF THE AIRFIELD. MACHINE GUN AND RIFLE FIRE FROM SNIPERS WAS VERY HEAVY, BUT MY PARTNER HAD GONE AHEAD WITH THE BAR, AND I STARTED TO FOLLOW HIM. I WAS RUNNING WHEN I WAS WOUNDED IN THE LEFT ANKLE. AT FIRST I THOUGHT I'D STEPPED ON A MINE----THE EXPLOSION SEEMED TO COME FROM UNDER MY FOOT. I JUMPED INTO A DITCH, AND THOUGHT I WAS SAFE FROM OVERHEAD FIRE. BUT WHEN I TURNED MY HEAD, I FOUND THAT I WAS LYING NEXT TO A Japanese MINE. I MOVED ABOUT A DOZEN FEET, AND THEN TRIED TO GO ON, TO GET MY AMMUNITION UP TO WHERE IT MIGHT BE NEEDED. I COULD FEEL THE BULLETS GOING OVER ME.  A MARINE OFFICER WHO CAME BY TOLD ME TO MAKE IT BACK TO A SHELL HOLE ON THE BEACH, WHERE I'D FIND A MEDICAL CORPSMAN TAKING CARE OF SOME WOUNDED MEN. I MANAGED TO CRAWL DOWN THERE, WHERE THEY GAVE ME FIRST AID TREATMENT, AND THEN PUT ME IN AN EVACUATION CRAFT. THE JAPS WERE SHOOTING AT THE BOAT FROM MOUNT SURIBACHI, AND IT SEEMED ABOUT READY TO FALL APART ANYWAY. THERE WAS ABOUT THREE INCHES OF WATER IN THE BOTTOM. HOWEVER WE GOT AWAY AND MADE IT OUT TO THE HOSPITAL SHIP.


#17 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 21 December 2014 - 05:48 AM

 
FIFTH TRY SUCCESSFUL 
 
After four previous attempts to carry out the mission had been blocked by enemy sniper fire. Seabee O.L. Bourland, GM1, and a Marine escort party blew up two disabled Sherman tanks stranded on a Peleliu reef. The demolition job was requested by a Marine tank unit to prevent the Japanese from using the two Shermans as temporary pillboxes. 
 
 
 

 



#18 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 21 December 2014 - 05:51 AM

SEABEE EARNS SECOND BRONZE STAR MEDAL 
 
The first Seabee to win a second Bronze Star Medal is Samuel R. Davis, MM2c, who received the award for outstanding performance of duty during the invasion of Guam. He was presented a Gold Star in lieu of the second medal by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. 
Still suffering from a serious head injury received in earlier operations and only partially healed, Davis operated a crane under enemy mortar and sniper fire during the initial assault. 
His first award was for landing with the first wave of assault troops on Bougainville, where he salvaged a tractor, towed a gun to its assigned position, and later evacuated wounded Marines and delivered ammunition to the front lines"


#19 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 21 December 2014 - 05:54 AM

ACTION IN THREE CAMPAIGNS: 
 
We've seen anti-aircraft guns on shore knock down Japanese planes within an hour after we unloaded the guns from our ship," said CSF John H. Ehrig as he told how he and his crew of 24 Seabee Specialists had worked around the clock to unload battle supplies in three major island campaigns. . 
At sea aboard a transport for nearly eight of the past twelve months, the detachment saw action during the invasions of Tarawa and Apamama in the Gilberts; Kwajalein,
Roi and Eniwetok in the Marshalls; and Saipan, Peleliu and Angaur in the Marianas. 
The schedule for winch operators and hatch tenders during unloading operations, Ehrig said} was to work 18 hours between rest periods. On at least one occasion a winch operator fell into exhausted sleep with his hands on the controls, But the CPO added, they stay with it.
At Angaur, the vessel the Seabees were aboard was hit seven times but the Specialists, hard at work, didn't realize it until they were told later. In the Eniwetok operation, the fleet had to cease firing long enough for the ship to go through the line of fire and the Seabees unload its cargo. Then the big guns resumed their job.


#20 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 22 December 2014 - 04:45 PM

17th Special N.C.B. Seabees at Peleliu - September 15, 1944. 
 
Volunteer services of a Seabee Stevedore battalion received high praise 
for a job well done during the 1st Marine Division’s landing at Peleliu. 
First wavers landed less than 90 minutes behind the 1st assault waves, 
and fought side-by-side with the Marines in the same foxholes and were 
subjected to a deadly mortar barrage for days. The Seabees were part of 
the shore party, but while engaged in that duty, on the first night 
responded to a call for volunteers when a shortage of ammunition was 
reported in the front lines. Practically the entire battalion carried 
ammunition to the front and brought back wounded. The Seabees also took 
part in the fighting, when the Marines became shorthanded in one sector. 
Some of the men manned 37MM guns and did whatever was needed. Narrow 
escapes were a dime a dozen for the first week, from mortar,machine gun 
and sniper fire. After the Marines crowded the Japanese off their end of 
the island, the 17th Special turned again to it’s important task of 
unloading supplies, working under the most difficult circumstances, 
their crack stevedores added new laurels for the battalion with some 
emergency unloading. The weather turned almost as hostile as the 
Japanese, and a couple of hurricanes and typhoons were added nuisances. 
The 17th Special shouldered the major part of the job alone of getting 
the supplies and equipment ashore for the thousands of men and various 
units on the island. “Can-Do” 


#21 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 26 December 2014 - 01:25 PM

DECEMBER 26,1943 
 
AS PART OF THE 1ST MARINE DIVISION'S ENGINEERING BATTALION (3/17) 19TH SEABEE BATTALION LANDS ON CAPE GLOUCESTER, NEW BRITAIN. 
 
CHRISTMAS MORNING - ALONG WITH TWO BATTALIONS OF MARINE ENGINEERS, THE 19TH BOARDED LST'S AND MOVED TO CAPE GLOUCESTER TO HIT THE BEACH AT DUSK ON D-DAY-PLUS-ONE. IN RECORD TIME THE LANDING CRAFT WERE UNLOADED BY DARK AND THE NEXT MORNING MOVED INTO THE BIVOUAC AREA. WORK BEGAN IMMEDIATELY- ROADS, BRIDGES AND COMMUNICATIONS. 
 
CAPE GLOUCESTERS PRIME TASKS WAS TO KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN TO THE FRONT LINES, AND THE BATTALION WAS LIMITED TO THE NATURAL MATERIALS AT HAND, SEA GRAVEL, VOLCANIC ASH, TEAK AND MAHOGANY. SHERMAN TANKS FIRING ARMOR PIERCING 75MM SHELLS TO A DEPTH OF TEN FEET SUPERCEDED PNEUMATIC DRILLING AND DYNAMITE CREWS IN THE OPENING LAVA PITS. WORKING TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY, A TOTAL OF 75,000 CUBIC YARDS OF LAVA WAS REMOVED FROM THESE PITS FOR ROAD SURFACING. THIS SHERMAN METHOD OF DRILLING INCREASED PRODUCTION 350%. PIERS WERE THROWN OUT FOR LST AND LCM LANDING AND A SAWMILL WAS ERECTED TO TURN OUT FINISHED LUMBER. CONTINENTAL RAIN AND SPOTTY SNIPER FIRE WERE NO AID IN PROGRESS. 
 
WHILE ON CAPE GLOUCESTER, THE BATTALION EXPERIENCED WELL OVER 125 RED ALERTS AND 95 ACTUAL BOMBINGS. THE PURPLE HEART WAS AWARDED TO TWENTY-SEVEN MEMBERS OF THE BATTALION, FIVE OF THEM POSTHUMOUSLY. CHESTER PERKINS, MM1C,(CB) USNR, FLEW A MARINE CORPS OBSERVATION PLANE OVER ENEMY TERRITORY DROPPING FLARES AND DIRECTING ARTILLERY FIRE, AS WELL AS DROPPING SUPPLIES TO FIGHTING UNITS. HE ALSO TRANSPORTED HIGH-RANKING OFFICERS. PERKINS BESIDES RECEIVING MERITORIOUS PROMOTION IN THE FIELD FROM MAJOR GENERAL, RUPERTUS COMMANDING GENERAL OF THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION, RECEIVED THE NAVY AIR MEDAL AND A CITATION FROM THE ADMIRAL OF THE FIRST FLEET. 
 
BULLDOZERS RIP PATH FOR TANKS: SEABEE-LED ATTACK CRUSHES JAPS 
 
When tanks were unable to pass through the extraordinarily thick jungle to attack a Japanese force threatening the Cape Gloucester airfields on which the Fighter-Builders were working, dare-devil Seabees solved the problem by driving their bulldozers through the entangled vegetation. As they smashed their way through, Australian and American infantrymen followed up, making a lane for the land battle-wagons. 
 
The tanks were needed to outflank a strong enemy position within ten miles of the airfields . Japanese forces, recovering from their stunned surprise after the Marines first quick thrust, had regrouped in the hills to the rear of their lost base. Strongly entrenched in pillboxes on both sides of a stream, they were set to inflict severe casualties on any Allied units attempting a crossing. 
 
Until the Seabee bulldozers swung into action, working around the enemy position had appeared impossible. The battling construction men bulled through the wall of jungle, leading the way for the tanks, and then, as they approached the stream's west bank, manipulated their bulldozers to shear down steep cliffs like so much paper. 
 
Under the protection of General Sherman 75mm. tanks, other Fighter-Builders built a bridge across the rivulet, despite withering fire from the enemy ' pillboxes. Marines then crossed over and in frontal assaults smashed the formidable Japanese defenses. 
 
The strong resistance was a surprise in view of the report from prisoners that the Japanese general in command of the area had fled on foot from cape Gloucester to Talasea be cause of the intense American aerial bombardment preceding the Marines' and Seabees' initial landing.


#22 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 28 December 2014 - 06:03 AM

CAUSEWAYS SPEEDED LINGAYEN GULF LANDING 
 
Members of a Seabee pontoon battalion in the forefront of the Lingayen Gulf landing in the Philippines had the satisfaction of watching an estimated 90 per cent of the invasion materiel come ashore over their temporary pontoon piers. 
 
The veteran battalion boasted a campaign record few other Seabee units could equal: Kwajelien, Rol-Namur, Majuro, Guam, Saipan, Tinian, and the Leyte and Luzon landings in the Philippines. The long list of Purple Hearts awarded to men in the outfit has been testimony to the hazards of their occupation. "Yet," said Lt. Comdr. William E. Dallas, (CEC), USNR, the battalion's OinC, "they don't consider themselves heroes. They merely think of themselves as Seabees doing a tough job damn well. 
Typical of the conditions under which the battalion has operated was the experience of CMM Michael E. Lane of Wichita, Kansas, who was in charge of a pontoon barge during the Lingayen Gu1f operation. 
 
The barge was bracketed by shell fire and the Chief ordered his crew to swim to safety. He elected to stay aboard the barge, Two of his men, Lane E. Allen, SIc, of Blaeksburg, Virginia, and Hubert E. Gossage, Cox., of Dalton, Georgia, decided to stick it out With him. The three ducked into a tool compartment that had been cut out of one of the pontoon sections. Throughout the night they huddled in the doubtful security of their improvised foxhole and listened to pieces of shrapnel rake. across the top of the causeway. That they came through the barrage uninjured, they said later, was pure good luck. 
 
Another member of the battalion, L. B. Edinger of Marshfield, Oregon, recalled the night of D-Day on Tinian, where the pontoon speCialists were pinned down for several hours by a hairof mortar fire. "We were pretty shaky when morning came," he said, but we have troops and material going ashore over our pontoons in less than three hours. 
 
At Leyte, the Seabees were working on a pontoon causeway when a flaming bomber crashed into the beach less than 25 yards away. One oil-splattered veteran, Wiping out his eyes with grimy hands, shook his fist at the burning plane. "Happy landings, Tojo, he shouted, this Seabee airfield isn't ready for use yet!" 
To a man, they are proud of the records they have made. " But," Frank Lewen, MMlc, of Gary, Indiana, made one reservation, "there is one beachhead where they won't need causeways--when we hit the Golden Gate well swim ashore


#23 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 28 December 2014 - 06:07 AM

SEABEES FIGHT FIRE ON LST."
 
They were strictly 4.0 . 
 
This is the opinion two Navy officers on an ill-fated LST formed of their 100 Seabee passengers when the ship was fired by a direct bomb hit recently off the coast of Mindoro. 
 
"They were construction specialists, but when the cards were down, they did a magnificent job aboard ship,11 said the officers, Lt. (jg) Robert C. Krulish;Exec of the LST, and Lt. (jg) Charles A. Holschuh, both USNR. 
 
Five Seabees were killed and 10 wounded in the action. The others joined with the ship's crew in fighting flames, Carrying ammunition,and caring for the wounded.  
 
The Seabees were under charge of Lt. H. C. Phillips, CEC, USNR. 
Despite the efforts of the men to save the ship, including the braving of flames to dump 400 pounds of dynamite overboard, it was necessary to transfer the crew and officers to another ship" and sink the blazing LST with gunfire. 


#24 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 28 December 2014 - 06:16 AM

SEABEES SMASH PARACHUTE ATTACK 
 
Ar surprise parachute attack against a Navy Seabee camp in the Philippines several weeks ago provided further evidence of growing Japanese concern at the speed with which American Naval construction has been following the fleet and assault forces. A map found on the body of a Japanese officer disclosed that the Seabee camp area and equipment were among the primary targets marked for destruction. 
The parachutists' assault, the first such attack ever directed against the Seabees, was a failure. Enemy airborne troops were met by a withering machine. gun and small arms fire as they dropped in the middle of the construction men's camp and on an atrfield the Seabees, were building. 
Lt. J. D. Piper, CEC, USNR, of Stillwater, Oklahoma, highest ranking officer in the camp at the time of the attack, took charge of the defense perimeter set up by the Seabees. 
 
 
The Seabees held their line until reinforced by Army units. During the next 72 hours, the combined forces pocketed and disposed of 359 Japanese. Seabees casualties were confined to minor injuries. 
On the score board the battalion has set up in its camp area, the Seabees now have painted four Japanese planes, knocked down since the battalion landed in the Philippines, and a neat row of Japanese flags suspended from tiny parachutes. 


#25 Thurman

Thurman
  • Members
    • Member ID: 155,403
  • 269 posts

Posted 28 December 2014 - 06:18 AM

WIN SEVENTEEN BRONZE STARS IN GUAM ACTION 
 
A Seabee battalion which was among the first ashore on Guam and was in the thick of the early action has been awarded seventeen Bronze Star Medals by Lt. Gen. H,M.· Smith of the Marine Corps.

 

The medals were presented to: 
 
. Lt. Comdr. George J. Whelan, CEC, USNR, OiC of the battalion and shore party commander; Lt. Comdr. Brett W. V!alker, CEC, USNR, for directing and training the shore party; Lester E. Bradley, MM2c, Audrey E. Bradley, MM1c, Ellswort,h E. Archer, MM1c, Jack P. Burgess, crane operators who worked almost continuously for 72 hours while under enemy fire; Edwin C. Beamer, SF1c, Elmer Vaughn, CM2c, Cristofer Caballero, SF3c, Bud Gray, MMlc, EarlE. Papn, MM3e; Silas A. Watts, MMlc, Audrey H. Brown, MM2e, and FJdbert J.Hensley, SF2c, bulldozer,operators who blazed trails to the front lines. 



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users