After this advanced training, battalions were
Teams (UDTs) were composed largely of Seabees. One
ordered to an-advanced base depot, such as Port
large group of Seabees, called Naval Construction
Hueneme, California, or Davisville, Rhode Island, to
Battalions, Special, functioned as stevedores, loading
await transportation overseas. Again, training continued
and off-loading cargo ships. Other groups included
while they were being outfitted with the tools,
automotive repair detachments, pontoon assembly
construction equipment, and materials needed to build
detachments, pontoon operating battalions, and
advanced bases and facilities. In addition, they took on
construction maintenance units. The latter maintained
stores of ammunition, food, and medical supplies; in
existing bases, releasing full battalions for building new
fact, everything necessary to make them self-sufficient.
By 1943, the training period for Seabees had
POST WORLD WAR II SEABEES
expanded to about 3 months. However, in the spring of
1945, a major change in their training took place.
Since World War II, Seabees have participated in all
Training of organized construction battalions was
kinds of training exercises. They have been part of the
halted, and emphasis was placed on training individuals
naval Antarctic expeditions, and they participated in the
to replace the battle-weary veterans due for discharge or
atomic bomb tests on the Pacific Islands. Seabees have
rotation back to the States. Even then, time did not
engaged in constructing overseas bases, such as those at
permit extensive trade school training for the younger,
Subic Bay, Philippines, and the Marine Corps Air
unskilled Selective Service inductees. As a result,
Facility at Futema, Okinawa. They have manned Arctic
experienced personnel in the field had to augment
test stations, and they have been associated with
meager stateside training with a lot of on-the-job
resupply expeditions to Alaska.
Seabees served with the assault forces in almost
SEABEES IN KOREA
every major invasion in World War II, going ashore, in
most cases, with or directly behind the first wave of
In Korea, the Seabees rose to the challenge of the
troops. Such names as Guadalcanal, Los Negros,
Cold War in the tradition of their "Can Do"
Tarawa, Munda, Saipan, Tinian, Attu, Iwo Jima, Guam,
predecessors. At the Inchon landing in September 1950,
Samar, Okinawa, Salerno, Sicily, and Normandy will
Seabees positioned pontoon causeways within hours of
forever be associated with the Seabees, just as
the first beach assault under continuous enemy fire and
Montezuma and the Shores of Tripoli are symbolic of
in the face of enormous and strong tides.
the traditions associated with the Marine Corps.
In addition to amphibious operations, the Seabees
Looking back, some of the jobs accomplished by the
were broken up into numerous detachments to service
Seabees in World War II seemed almost impossible. But
the K-fields of the various Marine air groups. Each
they were doneefficiently, effectively, and quickly!
airfield of the Marine air groups was designated with a
Undoubtedly, these accomplishments provided the
"K" number, such as K-3 at Pohang, K-18 at Kimpo,
basis for the Seabees' famous quotation:
Seoul, and K-2 at Teagan. As the war continued, the need
arose for an advance airfield to retrieve damaged aircraft
unable to reach home bases or carriers after raiding the
"The difficult task we accomplish right away,
North Korean interior.
the impossible may take a little longer!"
The project was code named Operation "Crippled
The Seabees' official motto is "Construimus-
Chick," and a detachment of Seabees was sent to Yo Do
Batuimus." Literally this means "We BuildWe Fight."
in the Bay of Wonson to build an airstrip. The Seabees
Even engineers who were used to visualizing large
were given 35 days to complete the jobthe strip was
construction projects were amazed at the Seabees'
ready in 16 days. While building the strip, the Seabees
ability to improvise and build. In the first 2 years of the
were under constant artillery bombardment from enemy
war, more than 300 advanced bases of various sizes and
forces on neighboring islands.
kinds were constructed by the Seabees.
The rapid demobilization that followed World War
In addition to earning the Navy's traditional "WeIl
II was not repeated after the signing of the Korean
done!" for construction work and defensive combat, the
Armistice in July 1953. The Cold War had created a
Seabees also earned well-deserved recognition in other
necessity to maintain military strength and
capacities. The now famous Underwater Demolition
preparedness. Crises in Berlin, Cuba, Africa, South