As part of fleet wide cuts, the Navy Mobile Construction Battalion force is undergoing drastic changes. NMCB 21, 23, 24 and 15 along with the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment were decommissioned at the conclusion of fiscal year 2013. The entire Naval Construction Force was also realigned under two Naval Construction Groups that report directly to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
NMCB 24's Permanent Drill Site at Red Stone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., served as the venue for the battalions decommissioning, Sept. 15 2013.
NMCB 24 was originally commissioned in 1942 and served in the Pacific theater during World War II. The battalion was decommissioned at the conclusion of the war in 1945 only to be recommissioned 17 years later in 1962 during the height of the Cold War. The battalion was notably the only reserve battalion to be called to active duty to serve in both Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1990.
More recently, in 2009 NMCB 24 was called upon to support operations in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The deployment led to the battalion earning the Battle "E," "Best of Type" award. Since 1977, NMCB 24 has received the Rear Admiral John R. Perry "Best of Type" award ten times.
"NMCB 24's decommissioning ceremony serves to honor, and recognize the significance and impressive service of all the Sailors that proudly served in this great battalion, both present and past," said Capt. John Adametz Commander, Naval Construction Group 2.
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command oversees approximately 13,800 Seabees worldwide. Two Naval Construction Groups and five Naval Construction Regiments exercise command and control over seven active duty and 12 reserve battalions and other specialized units, including two Underwater Construction Teams and two Construction Battalion Maintenance Units.
"I've met World War II veterans who in their lifetime have seen this battalion created, decommissioned, recommissioned and now decommissioned a second time," said Gruzesky. "I think they are in a better position than I to remind you that we are not here to say goodbye to NMCB 24, we are really here to say, my friend, god speed, until we meet again."