For over 70 years, the men and women of the Naval Construction Force have been giving their all to protect our Nation and serve our armed forces with pride and living up to the slogan…We Build, We Fight. On May 19, 1965 the 30th Naval Construction Regiment was activated at Danang, Vietnam. Let’s take a dive into the history of the 30th Regiment…
Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment Seabees are an integral part of the Naval Construction Force and provide valuable construction support to Navy and Marine Corps units. The Naval Construction Force is an integrated force of both active and reserve units.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalions are the bulk of the active Pacific Naval Construction Force, under the direct command of the Thirtieth Regiment. Each has about 600 officers and enlisted personnel. Their complement includes Civil Engineer Corps officers, other staff officers, enlisted craftsmen from every construction trade and various fleet support ratings.
There are four active units of the Naval Construction Force serving the Pacific, and an Underwater Construction Team which provides the Pacific Fleet Seabees with unique underwater construction and demolition capabilities. The Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment provides deployable command and control of operational units.
Pacific-based Naval Construction Force units deploy to Pacific Fleet and Atlantic Fleet forward logistics support bases in order to provide construction support to Navy, Marine Corps and other organizations. Seabees provide needed construction and repair to military operational and community support facilities, as well as disaster relief and construction training to U.S. communities and independent Pacific Island nations.
The main Pacific deployment sites are Okinawa, Japan and Guam. Smaller details operate in Chinhae, Seoul and Pohang, Korea; Sasebo, Iwakuni, Atsugi, and Yokosuka, Japan; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; San Diego, and Lemoore, California; Fallon, Nevada; and Bangor, Washington.
The Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment was first established in 1944, on Saipan after the invasion of Tinian. The regiment moved to Marianas and was known as the “Airfield Construction” Regiment of the Sixth Naval Construction Brigade.
Elements of different Battalions assigned under the regiment landed with the assault units of the 4th Marines for the invasion of Tinian. The initial invasion tasking was rebuilding a captured Japanese airfield for use by Naval aircraft, construction for roads, water facilities, camp hospitals, tank farms, ship moorings, pipelines, and drainage and sanitation lines.
The construction of North Field from which B-29 bomber strikes were launched against the islands of Japan kept the Regiment battalions busy from November 1944 to May of 1945, and it was inactivated on Tinian, Marianas in October 1945.
Two years later, they were activated in Guam, taking over the duties that had been assigned to the Fifth Naval Construction Brigade.
The regiment was under the administration and operational control of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, and assigned control of Naval Construction Battalion 103 and Construction Battalion Detachments on Peleliu; on Saipan; on Kwajalein; on Midway; and on Johnston Island.
Seabee Dets served at various times on Okinawa; and worked at Sangley Point Naval Air Station and Subic Bay Naval Operating Base in the Philippines.
The Thirtieth Regiment was transferred from Guam, Marianas to Cubi Point, Luzon, Philippine Islands in March of 1952. The regiment absorbed the Philippine Naval Construction regiment whose commanding officer became the commanding officer of the Thirtieth Regiment.
The regiment’s mission was to act as the single director of both naval construction forces and civilian contractor forces in the construction of the U.S. Naval Air Station Cubi Point, a task that lasted five years. During the five-year project, the regiment employed Mobile Construction Battalions TWO, THREE, FIVE, NINE and ELEVEN; Construction Detachments 1802 and 1803; and Detachment A of the Tenth Brigade.
Naval Construction Forces were utilized only during the September – June dry construction season. A large part of the airfield and air station facilities were constructed by contractors; but SEABEES did all the earth moving – over twenty million cubic yards of dirt - constructed many of the stations auxiliary facilities, and assisted in dredging operations for waterfront facilities.
The regiment operated under the military and operational control of Commander, Naval Forces, Philippines and administrative control of the Director, Pacific Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks, until 1955. In 1955, the Tenth Naval Construction Brigade was activated at Pearl Harbor and assumed administrative control of the regiment.
Jumping ahead ten years, On 10 May 1965, the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment was activated at Da Nang, republic of Vietnam (RVN), under the Commander, Naval Construction Battalions, U. S. Pacific Fleet.
Its principle mission was to exercise operation control over mobile construction battalions deployed to Vietnam. It maintained liaisons with other military commands, assigned construction projects to SEABEE units, and monitored performance. On 1 June 1966, the Thirtieth Regiment was assigned to report to the newly established Third Naval Construction Brigade in Saigon. December of 1969, having completed most SEABEE construction projects in Vietnam, the Thirtieth Regiment was re-deployed to Okinawa.
The Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment, headquartered on Okinawa, exercised command over all SEABEE battalions in the western Pacific Ocean area outside of Vietnam. It also directed the activities of SEABEE teams deployed to the western Pacific. In September of 1973, the headquarters of the Thirtieth NCR was moved to its birthplace of Guam, Marianas. From Guam, the Thirtieth directed the activities of the mobile construction battalions that built the major air and naval base at Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory, between 1971 and 1982. On 15 August 1984, the Thirtieth NCR was disestablished on Guam.
The Thirtieth NCR was reactivated in July 1982 with headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Overseas tasking in the Pacific arena included work in our two mainbody sites of Guam and Okinawa as well as detachment sites in Diego Garcia, Adak, Korea, Hawaii, Sasebo, Iwakuni, Yokosuka, Fuji, Atsugi, and the stateside tasking in Southern California. In addition to the normal active duty battalion contribution, reserve battalions contributed 45,000 mandays of support construction effort into CINPACFLT bases, USMC activities and Naval Reserve Centers.
The Thirtieth NCR, NMCB ONE, NMCB FORTY, and ACB ONE completed tasking in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope in 1993. Primary tasking was to provide vertical construction support to U.S. and Coalition Forces, who would establish base camps at each of the humanitarian relief sites.
Repair and improvement of the main supply routes was another big part of our effort. The largest project was at the Baidoa Airstrip, which deteriorated as C-130 relief flights increased in the early part of the operation. ACB ONE provided construction support and fuel and water offload service at the port of Mogadishu.
Today, more than 2,700 active duty and 5,700 reserve officers, men and women are assigned to the Pacific Fleet Seabees. Construction tasks in the Pacific range from renovating living quarters, ports and airfields, to constructing major operational training and support facilities.
Disaster relief and helping others help themselves have always been part of the Seabee tradition. Seabees provide relief after natural disasters, which includes providing temporary berthing and utilities, cleaning debris, restoring communication systems, repairs to damaged homes, buildings and base structures.
Pacific Fleet Seabees were involved in disaster recovery following a major earthquake and typhoons on Guam, participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The “Can Do” spirit of the Seabees has a long and gallant history. The Seabees of today uphold that legacy and continue to be the military construction force of choice.
For more historyon Navy Seabee units visit the Naval History and Heritage Command website: http://www.history.navy.mil/museums/seabee/unithistoricalinformation.htm