NORFOLK (NNS) -- This month marks the 66th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Navy Seabees, who are continuing the "Can-Do" legacy of their World War II predecessors around the globe.
Due to the need for massive military construction in World War II, Rear Adm. Ben Moreell, chief of the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks, established the first construction battalions on March 5, 1942. This was the beginning of the Seabees, who obtained their name from a transliteration of "CB" for construction battalion.
Moreell also gave them their official motto: Construimus, Batuimus -- We build, We fight. Due to their effectiveness in World War II, the Seabees became a permanent part of the Navy and have participated in every major conflict since.
Today, more than 2,500 Seabees are deployed to about 15 countries around the world and are a major component of the recently established Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC).
"As we celebrate our 66th anniversary, I can honestly say that there has never been a better time to be a Seabee. We have never been more in demand or more appreciated for the work we do," said Rear Adm. Richard E. Cellon, commander, 1st Naval Construction Division.
More than 14,000 Seabees have deployed to support operations throughout Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan in direct support of Marine Expeditionary Force and Special Operations Force efforts.
Assisting in underdeveloped parts of the world, Seabees also provided construction support during the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) and USS Peleliu (LHA-5) humanitarian missions last year, during which they repaired schools and medical facilities in numerous underdeveloped countries.
In the Horn of Africa, Seabees constructed schools and clinics in Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Comoros Islands and drilled water wells.
"Today, as our nation continues to battle the Global War on Terror, our Seabees and CEC officers continue to answer the call and are in high demand due to their unique skills. Seabees and CEC officers are deployed to all corners of the world, many in harm's way, and others performing humanitarian missions in remote areas to benefit local communities, and to further our nation's maritime strategy and deep-rooted principles of freedom," said Rear Adm. Greg Shear, Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
In a recent message, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway, said, "The Seabees have proven, time and again, to be force multipliers for Marines in war and peace all over the globe. This latest war is no different as our deployed Marines in support of the war on terrorism are receiving exceptional command and civil engineering support as well as naval facilities engineering. The deployed Naval Construction Division has made a crucial difference in rebuilding Iraq and providing robust support to our Marine forces in improving their living conditions in an austere environment."
Various local celebrations are planned for Seabees around the world, who also celebrate the 141st anniversary of the Civil Engineer Corps and 166th anniversary of Naval Facilities Engineering Command.
NECC is a global force provider of adaptive force packages of expeditionary capabilities to joint warfighting commanders. NECC serves as a single manning functional command to centrally manage the current and future readiness, resources, manning, training and equipping of the Navy Expeditionary Force.
For more news from Commander, 1st Naval Construction Division, visit www.navy.mil/local/1ncd/.