GULFPORT, Mississippi (NNS) -- On March 29 2019, Seabee’s assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 participated in a 2.3-mile interactive run on board Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Mississippi, in honor of the men and women who served during the Vietnam Conflict.
“I was glad to be able to be a part of the event and assist in raising awareness of the sacrifices that Vietnam veterans made,” said Chief Utilitiesman Charlie King, NMCB 11’s command fitness leader. “We take for granted how much Vietnam vets had to actually endure.”
To kick off the event, Cmdr. Dean Allen, NMCB-11’s commanding officer, delivered remarks to the battalion in which he praised the sacrifices that the Vietnam veterans gave to the nation. At the completion of the opening remarks, Chief King led the battalion through a series of warm up activities prior to beginning their run.
Once the run began, each company had four callisthenic exercise stops along their route in which assistant command fitness leaders took time to read historical information about specific individuals who made a significant impact during the conflict. Most notably was Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields. CM3 Shields was part of Navy Seabee Team 1104 who was deployed to Dong Xoai, Republic of Vietnam on 10 June, 1965 during an intense firefight with the Viet Cong.
Although wounded when the compound of Detachment A-342, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, came under intense fire from an estimated reinforced Viet Cong regiment employing machine gun, heavy weapons and small arms, Shields continued to resupply his fellow Americans with needed ammunition and returned enemy fire for a period of approximately three hours, at which time the Viet Cong launched a massive attack at close range with flame throwers, hand grenades and small-arms fire.
During the massive attack, Shields was mortally wounded, and to this day is the only Navy Seabee to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“Being part of the ‘Marvin Shields’ Battalion for a total of more than six years, I have always had pride in our unit and what it means to be a part of a unit that made such a huge impact during the Vietnam era,” said King. “Being a part of four contingency war time deployments myself, I do appreciate everything Vietnam vets had to endure and I’m very thankful that my situation wasn’t nearly as overbearing. In my opinion we all owe them unlimited gratitude for all of the sacrifices that they made and should thank them for their services every chance we can.”
Homeported in Gulfport, Mississippi, NMCB-11 is part of the Naval Construction Force (NCF). The NCF is a vital component of the U.S. Maritime Strategy and are comprised of deployable battalions capable of providing contingency construction, disaster preparation and recovery support, humanitarian assistance, and combat operations support.