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20 December 2004


"As a Marine who served three tours of duty in Vietnam, I cannot understand why the 133rd NCB did not receive the Presidential Unit Citation for their fighting side by side with the Marines. The 10th NCB supported our efforts in Vietnam in and around Danang. They were there to assist us as they always have been. If it counts, you have my vote to receive the PUC for their action on Iwo Jima. The Seabee's have always been there when needed. God bless you all."


Al Bancroft Lt. Col. USMC (Ret.) Director of Military Affairs








Iwo Jima Seabees Stay Unsung


Navy construction battalion units, whose main purpose was to unload supplies and build roads and airstrips, fought alongside combat troops storming the black sandy beaches of Iwo Jima. Now, some of the Seabee veterans think they deserved more recognition for what they did.


During this fierce assault on Iwo Jima in February 1945, Navy construction battalions (NCB's or Seabees) had two functions. To secure the beaches as the first assault troops went inland to engage the enemy and to unload supplies and provide runners to keep contact between the beach and the forward battle lines.


Four days after D-Day, the 133rd NCB inherited another job - repairing the newly won airfield that had been shattered and shellpocked by the battle that had swept across it.


I was the assistant company commander, Headquarters Company of this unit. The 133rd Companies A, B, and C and Company A of the 4th Marine Division Pioneer Battalion composed the shore party for the 23rd Regimental Combat Team. Company D of the 133rd NCB and Companies B and C of the 4th Pioneer Battalion composed the shore party for the 25th Regimental Combat Team. These two teams were the lead units for the assault troops of the 4th Marine Division.


Seabee staff correspondent Robert V, Evans outlined the activities of the 133rd NCB best:


Two battalions of the 41st Seabee Regiment at Iwo Jima - the 133rd NCB attached to the 4th Marine Division and the 31st NCB attached to the 5th Marine Division - hit the Iwo Jima beaches on the second wave of the initial assault, landing less than 60 minutes behind the assault wave made up of amphibious tanks and armored tractors. In the face of heavy fire from mortars already zeroed on beach positions, the Seabees unloaded cranes and bulldozers and Steel matting to be laid over the volcanic sand in which many vehicles were stuck almost at the water edge. The matting placed by the Seabees permitted medium tanks to enter into the battle, reinforcing the lightly-armored amphibious tractors which had taken the brunt of the first attack on enemy pill-boxes and strongholds, ordinarily the job of light and medium tanks.


With the entire surface of the rocky island ablaze with combat, the Seabees worked day and night to put the airfield into shape for U.S. planes. Japanese gunners, emplaced in caves that honeycombed the hills, laid down a heavy but intermittent fire on the field. Marine fliers started to use the Seabee-repaired southern airfield on 26 February, providing land-based air support for thee ground troops and a U.S. airfield less than 750 miles from Tokyo.


The second wave, including the Seabees, was permitted to land on the beach without strong opposition from enemy positions in the hills. The Japanese then unleashed heavy fire against the third and succeeding waves and concentrated on the beach positions.


Our ships and aircraft had pounded the volcanic Mt. Suribachi until no one could believe that anything or anyone was left alive. But the Japanese continued firing. The defenders in the mountainside caves resumed serving their mortars after we stopped. One Marine said that the mortars used against the Seabees and


Marines on the beach were the largest ever used against us. On many beaches, mortar fire pinned down the Seabees and Marines for as long as 12 hours straight.


The barren landscape provided little cover, and it was impossible to dig adequate foxholes. At Yellow Beach One, on the central portion of Iwo Jima's eastern coast, elements of the 133rd NCB were pinned down by mortar fire on D-Day from mid-morning until after sunset. Shellfire from 75-mm guns set up the ridge also rained down from several hundred yards away. In the shallow, crumbling foxholes, many men were wounded or killed. Unofficial reports said casualties were highest among members of the beach parties, who had to work without seeking cover.


Because only a few trucks were able to get ashore early, Seabees and Marines were forced to haul supplies by hand for two days under heavy enemy fire. Even some of the powerful bulldozers were unable to gain traction on the shifting volcanic sand. An earthen shelf slowed vehicles and made them easy targets for the artillerymen on the high ground. On D+3, a heavy rain affected our activities, but a large quantity of material had been unloaded already. Flares and searchlights from ships were used to prevent enemy infiltration during the night.


Headquarters Company of the 133rd NCB was assigned to provide a perimeter defense against a counterattack from the sea. The security unit consisted of two 30-man infantry platoons and two 4-man light machine gun sections. The Japanese did not attempt any counterattacks either from the sea or on the front lines in our area. Credit for the fact that security unit had only one man killed in action goes to the special training provided by a Gunnery Sergeant named Hickman of the 23rd Marines. When I realized that we were going to be involved in serious combat and that any advice from a combat veteran would be helpful, I asked my company commander to secure the services of a Marine to help train my security units. Sergeant Hickman held forth every afternoon from 13:00 to 16:00 for three weeks. After we landed, he emphasized, we should get away from the water's edge as quickly as possible and avoid seeking shelter in any shell holes or depressions because enemy gunners would no doubt be zeroed in on them already. It would be safer to lie on the open ground, he told us. This meant going beyond the first two terraces, inland about 250 yards from the beach. Unfortunately, one of my men in the machine-gun crew jumped into a 16-inch shell hole with other men, and all were killed by a mortar shell. I will always appreciate the help we received from Sergeant Hickman, the pride of Mississippi.


The Seabee companies were mainly involved in regular shore-parry duties, unloading landing craft at the water's edge and establishing and operating dumps of food, ammunition, fuel, and water. We also loaded the transport units for delivery to the troops at the front.


During the 26-day battle for Iwo Jima, elements of the 133rd NCB bulldozed debris on the beaches and made access roads. A vehicle maintenance group kept trucks, jeeps, tractors, and other equipment running. Surveyors and draftsmen were assigned intelligence tasks and kept daily maps and reports for the Marines.


Corpsmen and doctors worked with evacuation station personnel, and the medical units were hit hard, with one corpsman killed in action, one corpsman wounded in action, and one doctor missing in action. Two other doctors, the dentist, and the chaplain were wounded. All casualties except one were evacuated.


The 133rd NCB suffered 245 [370*] casualties - 3 officers and 39 enlisted men killed in action and 12 officers and 191 enlisted men wounded - the highest total of any Seabee unit in history. The totals exceeded the casualties of the 4th Marine Division Pioneer Battalion. The members of the 133rd NCB wore Marine uniforms, were subject to Marine regulations, and were active participants of the 4th Marine Division assault team and were not identified as part of a support group.


After Iwo Jima was declared secure, the 4th Marine Division returned to Maui, Hawaii, and the 133rd NCB, reduced by casualties to 75% of its full strength, remained on the island to help build B-29 airfields. The battalion worked two 12-hour shifts seven days a week and was subjected to occasional night air raid alerts, several attacks, and daytime sniper fire from enemy survivors still living in numerous tunnels and caves that remained intact after the battle.


The B-29 airfields on Iwo Jima saved the lives of more than 25,000 Army Air Corpsmen whose planes were so damaged from air raids over Japan that they never could have returned to their home bases on Guam and Tinian. This was some consolation for those of us who saw the sacrifices made by the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions and their attached units.


Since Marine veterans have said that Iwo Jima was the toughest battle they ever fought, it seems fitting and appropriate that the survivors of the 133rd NCB finally get their due.




WHAT ABOUT A PUC?


Veterans of the 133rd Naval Construction Battalion wonder why their unit was not awarded a Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) for the Iwo Jima campaign as part of the 4th Marine Division.


The Marine units of the 25th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) received the PUC. Company D of the 133rd NCB - part of the 25th RCT - did not. Company A of the 4th Pioneer Battalion in the 23rd RCT received the PUC. Headquarters Company and Companies A, B, and C of the 133rd NCB did not. The 4th Marine Division had only one Pioneer battalion - the 4th - which was assigned to the 25th RCT. Therefore, another Pioneer battalion was needed for the 23rd RCT.


According to veterans of the battalion, the 133rd NCB, with the 4th Pioneer Company A., satisfied that need. Official 4th Marine Division documents prove that the 133rd NCB was part of the assault units of the 4th Marine Division for the Iwo Jima campaign.


Did the 133rd NCB deserve a Presidential Unit Citation?


Commander Marra and his fellow Seabee veterans think so.

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I have been looking for a place to post this member of the 133rd naval construction battalion.He was KIA on Feb 19,1945 on Iwo Jima by shell fragment during the landing.What Makes this personal is he was a friend of mom's who had a war necessary job.He wanted to do his part and worked tirelessly to join the military.Finally

his boss relented and he made it just in time for Iwo. Rip Carpenter's Mate Herbert Moxey

 

 

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SEABEES - IWO-JIMA



KILLED IN ACTION




EDWARD ANDERSON UDT 12 "CB"


133RD NAVAL CONSTRUCTION BATTALION


EDWIN BLYTHE 2/19/45


THOMAS MCKINNEY 2/19/45


JOSEPH BENSON 2/19/45


LAWRENCE BETZ 2/20/45


NORMAN BONDURANT 2/20/45


JOHN BUTTS JR. 2/19/45


RALPH CAREY 2/19/45


WALTER COLEMAN 2/19/45


FRANCIS CRAIG 2/19/45


PAUL DAVIDICH 2/19/45


NELDON DAY 2/19/45


J.D. DE MONEY 2/19/45


NORMAN DUPUIS 3/10/45


ELZA EVANS 3/4/45


GLENN FLOE 2/19/45


HANS GATTERER 2/19/45


ROBERT GEER 2/19/45


JOHN GRUDZINA 2/19/45


MARVIN HAYNES 2/19/45


THOMAS HERMAN 2/19/45


ARTHUR HERRON 2/19/45


FRED KETTERING 2/25/45


OSCAR LEASER 2/19/45


ROBERT MARTIN 2/23/45


BLAIR MCCAN 2/19/45


JULIUS MCCARTY 2/19/45


ORIE MILLARD 2/19/45


GEORGE MITCHELL 2/19/45


HERBERT MOXEY 2/19/45


LRON NEWSOME 2/19/45


HARRY NOLL 2/19/45


ROBERT OLSON 2/19/45


JOSEPH PECK 2/19/45


ROBERT PIRIE 2/19/45


PHILANDER PITTSER 2/19/45


FRANCIS ROBINSON 2/19/45


MALCOM ROSE 2/19/45


LEONARD SALE 2/19/45


JESS SIMPSON 2/19/45


EARL SMULL 2/19/45


CASPER TOMASETTI 2/19/45




JOHN ANTHONY 62 NCB 3/1/45


EDWARD BARENKAMP 62 NCB 3/27/45


WILLIAM BEALES 90 NCB 6/1/45


RICHARD BLACK 90 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


JOHN BRADY 106 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


CLIFFORD BRUCE 62 NCB 4/7/45


LINCOLN CLEMENT 62 NCB 3/1/45


ACE COXE 90 NCB 3/26/45


GROVER DODSON 106 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


EDMUND DUEHRING 62 NCB 3/10/45


WILLIAM ERICKSON 106 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


THOMAS GILBERT 106 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


EDGAR GILLHAM 106 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


BILLY GRIMM 90 NCB 6/1/45


THOMAS GROVE 31 NCB 3/18/45


ARTHUR HAFFLING 90 NCB 6/1/45


FRANCISCO JARAMILLO 95 NCB 4/25/45


DAVID KLAUSNER 106 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


RALPH MCDONALD 106 NCB 4/16/45 MINE


THEODORE MARTIN 90 NCB 3/26/45


HENRY OLSON 106 NCB 4/13/45


CLYDE REAVES 31 NCB 3/19/45


MARVIN ROSIN 90 NCB 6/1/45


WILLIAM BROWN 90 NCB 6/1/45

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Frank Riefle, - (133rd NCB)Seaman First Class, never expected to be on the front lines the first night on Iwo-Jima. Riefle armed with a "BAR" was a member of a squad of Seabees and Marines who were to furnish a perimeter guard around the shore-party. He recalls: When our boat hit the beach, I made a dive for the sand. I had just gotten down flat when my ring was knocked off the middle finger of my right hand by a piece of shrapnel. I was only scratched, men were being hit all around me. Then two other Seabee riflemen and I were odered to move up away from the beach and fire on some snipers. We moved 50 yards and some shells fell between us and the rest of the shore-party. We went forward again to keep from being hit, and were forced to keep going as the barrage moved up behind us. By nightfall on D-Day, we were on the front lines. During the night, Riefle made two trips back to the beach helping wounded men. The next day he and the other Seabees made their way back to the shore-party, which was unloading supplies on the beach. but not before - says Riefle he emptied a few more clips at the Japanese.

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SEABEE SPECIAL RECEIVES FOURTH COMMENDATION"


Nov. 1, 1943.


A Seabee Special Battalion has been highly commended by Rear Admiral Calvin H. Cobb, USN, Commander of the South Pacific Force Service Squadron, in a letter 'to the 'Battalion's O-in-C, Cdr. Francis N. McCarthy, CEC, USNR, for having "helped to eliminate one of the principal bottlenecks in the war effort in the South Pacific."

In his letter, Rear Admiral Cobb also stated:


This Command has,noted with satisfaction the remarkable improvement in cargo unloading and, loading at this port since the arrival of the Battalion under your Command. The marked reduction in damaged cargo and pilfered cargo since you have assumed the, important responsibility of representing the Navy's end of cargo unloading.


The Special received its first ,commendation after arriving at a South Pacific base ' to find the port in a dangerously congested state, with more than 60 heavily-loaded ships anchored in the harbor and offering tempting targets for the Japanese bombers. The Specials went to work and a month later received, a commendation from the base commander for their rapid. clearance of the port.



Later, under the operational control of the Army, the Specials were commended by'the Army commander in a letter which stated, in part: In every respect the services of the Battalion are considered to be superior.

The third commendation came from a Marine commander, after the Seabees were given a dangerous ship-to-ship transfer of heavy munitions destined for a unit of the Marine amphibious force.

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SEABEES CRACK ARMY' MARK IN SICILIAN ATTACK


Seabees ,operating with the Amphibious Force in Northwest African

Waters broke a long-standing Army engineer record by twenty-four hours

in throwing up a 10,000 barrel steel storage' tank in six days.


The rush order to build and test the tank came through Just after

the initial Sicilian assault landing. It had to be ready for filling in

time for 'the LST boats' return for the follow-up landing.


Actual construction began on Saturday, and by the following Thursday

evening the bottom ring had been tested. a record time.


When the LST's returned, The Seabees and the water were waiting.

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REPORTS INDICATE SEABEES AT BOUGAINVILLE - Nov. 15, 1943



"Under perhaps the worst conditions American troops have encountered, It according to a description wired by Frank Tremaine, front line U.P. correspondent with Allied forces on Bougainville, construction battalions labor unceasingly to keep traffic moving through the Jungle.


Tremaine's story, dated Nov.12, continues, "There is no road parallel to the shore, so traffic ploughs along the beach with two wheels in the water until a vehicle gets stuck fording an inlet. Then other vehicles pull it out with winches.


The construction battalions are operating in jungle so thick that the Marines do not dare to use mortars or grenades because they can't loft them out of their own territory.

Rain falls almost continuously and the ground is a spongy mess where it isn't churned into a quagmire by trucks and jeeps.

The hardships ,the Seabees are overcoming an carrying out their assignment can be judged in the light of' the reports of Marine veterans of the initial Solomon Islands landings in August 1942, who say that fighting and living conditions are worse than Guadalcanal.

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8th Seabees land at Iwo-Jima - March 3, 1945.


When Naval Construction Battalion 8 arrived at the beaches, the

battle was in its third day and still raging. Small arms end artillery

fire rained down on the beaches and Kamikaze planes were diving on the

ships of the assault force. The battalion was scheduled to land four

days after D-day, but it was unable to land until twelve days after

D-day. However twentY-six men of Naval Construction Battalion 8 landed

on the initial day of the invasion to help supply the United States Marines.

The main body of the battalion landed on March 3 and spent the first

night bivouacked on the beach. The next day the 8th Seabees moved to a

temporary bivouac area. On March 6, eight days after the scheduled starting date the battalion began worklng on its first assignment, the

Construction of an aviation gasoline tank farm. In spite of the late

start, the 8th Seabees finished the tank farm on time.


Once they completed the tank farm, the Seabees started on the other jobs that had been assigned to them, such as paving roads, digging water wells, erecting buildings, and building emergency landing strips for the B-29 aircraft, which were engaged in the bombing of Japan.


One group of men of the battalion volunteered for duty in demolition work, disposing of mines and duds, and neutralizing Japanese soldiers hidden in caves by-passed by the Marines.


While employed on Iwo-Jima, the battalion Was subjected to Japanese

sniper fire and bombing attacks in Which 18 men of the battalion were

wounded and 2 were killed.


The 8th Battalion remained on Iwo-Jima until after the Japanese

forces formally surrendered at the beginning of September 1945.

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SEABEES JAPS SLUG IT OUT IN MARSHALLS


Two unarmed Seabees and a homicidal Japanese Marine played a grim game of jack in-the-box before the Japanese crumpled for good before a smoking tommy gun in the hands of one of the Navy mens' comrades, a delayed report from the Marshall Islands has revealed. The third day of the invasion, B.I. Blackburn, MMlc, and I.G. Phillips, MM2c, teamed up on a bulldozer to clear away rubble. Shoving aside a pile of broken concrete, they found themselves staring at a Japanese marine sergeant, flushed out of his hiding place by the bulldozer.

Brandishing a pistol, the Japanese fired point-blank at Phillips, but missed.



Without pausing to see the result of his shot, he sprang onto the bulldozer, with Blackburn his next target Luckily his gun misfired.

Swinging hard, the Seabee knocked him off. The Japanese clambered on again. Blackburn pushed him to the ground. Three times more the fanatical Japanese picked himself off the ground and leapt at the operator. Each time the Seabee beat him off. Then Seabee T. E. Williams, Slc, who had been running to the scene, riddled his foe with a submachine gun.

Combat reports published in earlier issues of the News Service already have

described the Seabees' and Marines' initial assault landings in the Marshalls. Accounts of additional incidents are still coming through.


Landing with one of the first waves on D-Day, John Persche, CM1c, out-flanked a sniper and finished him off with a hand grenade. George Hager, MM1c, used a machine gun to blast three snipers out of cocoanut trees. Jake Viator, SF3c, and George Harrison, MM2c, added a Japanese prisoner to the Seabee score.

Other Fighter-Builders, hauling ammunition to the front line, were attacked by an enemy soldier who rushed out of a building and attempted to throw a hand grenade at them. Cut down just as he pulled the pin, he fell on his own grenade and was blasted to ribbons.

All of the Navy construction men helped unload water, rations, ammunition, and high explosives the first day, under heavy fire. General H. Schmidt, USMC, Commanding General, testified personally to their exploits.

The Seabees, he said, performed their duties with credit under trying conditions throughout the operation.

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REDUCE BUILDING TIME BY THIRD


When the 90th Battalion was called upon recently to construct a three-deck headquarters building with 60,000 square feet of floor area and 700,000 cubic feet content, the Seabees responded with a construction performance which cut fully a third off the estimated building time.

Within five days of the time work began, the 90th had poured and finished the first deck slab, 420' long and 48' wide.

The following day the superstructure was started. Because of a lack of enough skilled men in the one battalion, assistance was furnished by members of other units. The wooden shell sprung up and in fifteen days the roof was laid on complete. Interiors followed rapidly. In less than thirty days the battalion reported the building ready for use --two weeks ahead of time.

Indicating the scope of the assignment, Cmdr. George S. Brockway, CEC, USNR, OinC of the 90th, pointed out that five hundred yards of concrete were poured in slab, piers, and vaults, and that 600,000 FBM 01 lumber were used in the building's construction.

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Two Seabees who risked exploding ammunition and flames to aid in the rescue of a wounded pilot trom a crashed and burning fighter plane have been awarded Navy and Marine Corps Medals tor heroism.

Upon observing the plane crash Into the jungle near the airfield where they were stationed, Gene E. Powell., CSF, and Willie E. Walker, MMlc, of lhe 37th Battalion, immediately rushed to the scene of the accident. Despite the exploding ammunition and the intense heat from the blazing plane, the Seabees assisted another serviceman in extricating the unconscious pilot from the ####pit and removing him to safety.

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Four Bronze Stars for Bougainville Heroism

 

Two Civil Engineer Corps officers and two Seabees have been awarded Bronze ~
Star Medals by Admiral William F. Halsey for their part in operations on Bougainville earlier this year.
The officers are Commander L. V. Clark Deichler, CEC, USNR, Officer-inCharge
of a battalion on the island, and Lieutenant (j.g.) Louis K. McLean. The enlisted men are Chief Boatswain's Mate E. F. Prehoda and Henry S. Utley, SF3c.
Commander Deichler was decorated for assistance in the planning for and
the construction of the vitally important Piva bomber and fighter airstrips, which gave our aircraft operational bases close to enemy installations.
In addition," read his citation, "he personally supervised numerous emergency repairs on these airfields, the Torokina airstrip, and the adjoining tank farm,many times directing the work while under enemy bombardment. By his initiative
and resourcefulness, he contributed materially to the collapse of Japanese air power in the area and enabled our forces to inflict severe damage on Japanese installations.
Lt. (jg) McLean (then Ensign) was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his action in leading a repair party on an airstrip which had received approximately seventy-five enemy artillery shell hits. "Although exposed to continuous enemy fire, his citation said, "he courageously led a repair party in rapidly restoring the field to service after each hit. So effective was the work of this group that on no occasion was the use of the field interrupted for more than thirty minutes."
Chief Boatswain's Mate Prehoda received his Bronze Star Medal for participating in the same emergency repair job. His citation said, "His quick action and unselfish devotion to duty contributed materially to the success of our air forces against the Japanese.
Ship Fitter Utley's citation read: the aviation gasoline system at the
airfield where Utley was stationed was damaged five times by enemy shelling. Each time that a storage tank or pipe line was shattered by shrapnel gasoline under pressure
saturated an area of approximately two hundred feet. On each occasion disregarding the danger of explosion and the continuous shelling, Utley led a damage repair party in effecting immediate repairs. As a result of his prompt action, no part of the gasoline system was out of commission for more than thirty minutes, thereby enabling our aircraft to operate without interruption.

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LIKE SON LIKE FATHER


In July, 1943, Edward Davidson left his home in Louisville, Kentucky, to join the Seabees. Three months later, his father, Dan, also enlisted in the ranks of the Fighter-Builders with the hope that someday he might meet his son. Assigned to the 13th Battalion, the senior Davidson's hopes were realized when the battalion reached its new "Island X". His son is stationed on the same

island.

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COMMENDED FOR SAVING SAILOR CRAFT


A Seabee who swam through the storm driven waters of a South Pacific bay to prevent the loss of a valuable landing craft and then rescued a fellow sailor from drowning in the surf has been cited by Major Gener al A. H. Turnage, Commanding General of the Marine Division.


When the craft was broken loose from its moorings by a 25-mile per hour

wind and smashing waves, Robert 1. Murray, SIc with the 25th Battalion, plunged into the surf and fought his way to the boat. After boarding the craft, he started and reversed the engines barely in time to prevent a collision which would have

smashed the hull.


After picking up the seaman in charge of the craft, who was attempting to

swim to the boat, Murray secured the vessel at a safe mooring.

Swimming to the beach from the craft, Murray's companion became exhausted approximately 100 yards offshore whereupon Murray assisted him ashore.

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Japanese troops on a certain Southwest Pacific island may not know it but an LCT-load of ammunition was "presented' to them on schedule only through the cooperation of Seabee divers of the 105th Battalion.


The LCT was headed up the coast to its rendevous when its propeller became fouled in a heavy hawser. An emergency call to the Seabee divers, working nearby, was answered with dispatch. Diving equipment was moved and H. H,. Burnett, BMlc, heading the detail, went over the side armed only with a knife and freed the propeller in a few minutes.

The commander of the vessel extended his thanks to the divers for their quick and efficient job and the vessel proceeded on its way with its consignment of "souvenirs" for the Nips.

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PONTOON SPECIALIST WAS LUCKY!


Close-calls seemed to be commonplace for CMM Philip J. Dalton of Haddon

Heights, New Jersey, during the Philippines invasion.

He was bringing his ammunition-laden pontoon barge in toward shore, the Seabee recalled, when a Japanese plane tried unsuccessfully to strafe him. Soon after, trying to catch a few minutes sleep on the barge, he was blasted from his impromptu bed by a shell that whizzed over his head and scored a direct hit on another barge close by.


Dalton was unshaken, but some of his mates were not as fortunate. One Seabee was killed and three others seriously wounded. Those men were heroes, said the chief, One of the boys, even though badly hurt, had to be persuaded to leave the barge."

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WITHOUT RELIEF AND WITHOUT COMPLAINT


Melvin E. Merrill, SF2c, manned his sea-going" filling station off Peleliu for 72 hours without relief in order to keep landing craft on the move toward the beaches.

A commendation by his OinC cited his exceptional skill, outstanding devotion to duty, cool judgment under fire and in bad surf and tide conditions!.

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Seabee "Bazooka" Speeds Welding

 

Welding steel aviation drums and having them explode and fly 20 feet into the air is no fun to the torch-handlers and, according to PhoM1c E. L. Neese; CMM Paul Golding of the 21st Battalion decided to do something about it.
Demonstrating some of the well-known Seabee ingenuity, Golding built
a device for deoxidizing empty or partially empty tanks in preperation for torch welding or cutting, thus eliminating the danger of explosion caused by the sparks of the torch and the oxygen in the tank.
The "Bazooka", as some of the Seabees call Golding's contraption, is portable and consists of a steel jacket filled with water and steel-wool. A tube leads from the jacket and is attached to the exhaust pipe of a running motor. Carbon monoxide given off by the motor passes through the jacket into the tank, displacing the oxygen.
Using the "bazooka" a 1500 gallon tank was prepared for welding in five minutes compared to the six hours normally needed when using the common steaming method.

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When the 464th Army Quartermaster Company arrived on the South Pacific

island of Bougainville from duty outside of the combat area, they were greeted by an

enemy air raid, and an artillery duel between the American and Japanese guns and

the heaviest rain and electrical storm ever experienced on the island. Such a

greeting, on their day of arrival, would definitely dampen the spirits of any group,

but as word of their predicament circulated around the island, the 464th's next door

neighbors, carried out the true spirit of American hospitality.

Seabees of the Navy's 6th Special Naval Construction Battalion, who are old

timers on this island, their service dating back to the invasion period, struggled

through the storm and helped the G.I.’s set up their tents, threw open their galley

and served the dripping "Dogfaces" steaming hot coffee. When the air raid sirens

sounded the Seabees made room for the Army in their own foxholes and later in

their own quarters.

The Sixth Special Seabees taught the G.I's how to differentiate between

American Shells and those of the enemy and did their best to calm the jitters of their

first experience with heavy artillery shells roaring overhead.

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A Seabee detachmemt which landed early during the invasion of Southern France added insult to injury. The builders took over a German concrete pillbox which had been captured by assault units and converted it to use as the detachment's operations office.

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JAPANESE COVEY FLUSHED, SEVEN BAGGED


Two Seabees and three U. S. cavalrymen, using small arms, hand grenades and a bazooka, wiped out seven Japanese soldiers who had been isolated as their forces retreated from Philippine beachheads ten days before.

The Seabees, Donald E. Champagne, CCM, and Phillip R. Spencer, CCM, joined the three so1diers on the Japanese-hunt after the hiding place had been pointed out by a Filipino. The Japs had dug in under the native's thatch hut.

From a rice paddy island, the five men set up small arms fire and hurled grenades at the opening of the hole. "The entrance was so small," Champagne said, that we couldn't get the grenades into the hole. We kept tossing grenades while keeping up a heavy fire so we could keep the Japs down there."

The Japanese had the last word, however. They killed themselves to avoid capture. Seven bodies were found after the attackers made their way into the trench.

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TIME OUT


A Seabee detachment launched two pontoon causeways during the assault on one of the Palau Islands with only a slight interruption while one of their number underwent an emergency appendectomy, Sgt. John Worth, a Marine Corps Combat Correspondent, discloses in a delayed dispatch.

Worth relays the following official report on the two operations, amphibian and surgical:

"At 1200 on 17 September we received an order from the control boat to launch causeways and bring them into Blue Beach. The port causeway unit was launched at 1230. The launching of the starboard causeway was interrupted by an emergency appendectomy. This took place on the tank deck of the LST which had been converted into a Hospital Evacuation Ship for the assault. The second causeway finally was launched at 1530."

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PASSWORD


The Marine was out of ammunition and a party of Japs, crawling through the brush, were closing in. Desperately he jumped to his feet and, as bullets whistled close, raced for the rear.

His frantic eyes recognized the outline of a foxhole --but a rifle muzzle peered over the edge as a voice demanded, "Who goes there?"

The Marine wasn't in any mood to stop for a mere password. Continuing toward the foxhole, he shouted, "lemme in there, dammit, the louzaye -*-*-*1 Japs are after me

The foxhole's tenant, Chief Cloyd M. Winfrey of the 73rd Battalion, relaxed


behind his gun. I almost let you have it, he told the Leatherneck as the latter tumbled in. "Then you opened your mouth and it was OK. No Japanese ever knew that code

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NO PLACE FOR HITCH HIKER


The Yanks hold the island but the Japs still set the speed limits. Here's the way it works at the advanced base at which the 17th Special is stationed:

The battalion's truck drivers haul cargo day and night along a road which leads inland from the shore. By day it takes fifteen minutes from beach to airfield including a mile of sniper territory.

MP's patrol the road and the Japs usually are reluctant to shoot and disclose their position. But at night the accelerator of every vehicle is permanently jammed against the floor for the entire distance.

Conservative estimates figure a seven-minute elapsed time for the course. Nobody stops for nuthin'.

A recent event has acted to increase the day time speed to the night time rate. Carpenter Alva D. Boggs is sporting a neat hole in the brim of his sun helmet and in the top of. his jeep. Apparently at least one Japanese isn't following the snipers' "working schedule too closely.

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HANDY WITH THE HOOK


Seabees of a Special Battalion, who unloaded the first ship to enter Apra Harbor, Guam, handled over 60,000 tons of cargo their first month on the newly-won island an average of 2,000 tons per day under combat conditions.

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