Roosevelt Roads Bids Farewell to Seabees

Story Number: NNS030401-17Release Date: 4/1/2003 11:41:00 PM
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By Journalist 3rd Class Landon Mason, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION ROOSEVELT ROADS, Puerto Rico (NNS) -- After 34 years of service on Naval Station Roosevelt Roads (NSRR), Puerto Rico, the Seabees who deploy to Camp Moscrip on the naval station are saying farewell this spring.

"It's sad, really," said Master Chief Constructionman Pam Taylor, the assistant officer-in-charge of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74, Detachment Puerto Rico, the last detachment of Seabees to come to NSRR. "This is the end of an era for Seabees."

The first Seabee battalions began deploying to NSRR in 1969 and set up Camp Moscrip, which would become a home-away-from-home for battalions on deployment.

In 2001, NMCB-74 became the final battalion to deploy its main body of Seabees to Camp Moscrip. Since that time, NMCB-40 and 74 have deployed detachments consisting of less than 100 personnel.

More than half of NMCB-74's Seabees at NSRR left for Southwest Asia February and March, while the rest are scheduled to leave in April.

"I think it's sad to see Camp Moscrip close as far as the Seabees are concerned," Taylor said. "But our mission and tasking priorities require our presence elsewhere. With the realignment of our deployment schedule from seven months deployed and seven months at home to six months deployed and 10 months at home, the naval construction force is no longer able to support four main body sites. Although Camp Moscrip will no longer be home to the Atlantic Alert Battalion, it will remain alive in the chronicles of Seabee history."

Throughout the years, the Seabee presence at Camp Moscrip became more and more visible as they built up the camp.

Camp Moscrip was named in honor of Lt. j.g. Arthur D. Moscrip Jr., a Seabee with NMCB-1. He was killed in Da Nang, Vietnam, Sept. 13, 1968, during NMCB-1's third deployment there. In the beginning, temporary buildings barely larger than tents served as barracks, and an outdoor theater were all the Seabees had in the quality-of-life arena.

In later years, growth on the camp exploded, with permanent barracks built and even more support facilities constructed. When Naval Construction Battalion 74 left in 2001, the camp was almost self-sufficient. Units staying there had their own gym, galley, chapel and mini-mart.

A little more than six months after NMCB-74 departed, a detachment came back to close the camp and bring the bee, which had stood guard over the camp for 21 years, to its new home at the headquarters for the 1st Naval Construction Division and Naval Construction Forces Command in Little Creek, Va. With the help of J.A. Jones contractors, Seabees from NMCB-74, Detachment Puerto Rico, lifted the bee off its pedestal and prepared it for shipping.

The last remaining Seabees from NMCB-74 are scheduled to leave NSRR within the next few weeks.

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