Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three

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Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE
NMCB 3 insignia

ActiveMarch 15, 1942–present
CountryUnited States
BranchUSN
Part of1st Naval Construction Group
HomeportPort Hueneme California
EngagementsWorld War II
Vietnam War
Gulf War
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Commanders
Current
commander
CDR Gordon E. Meek III
 
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Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE
NMCB 3 insignia

ActiveMarch 15, 1942–present
CountryUnited States
BranchUSN
Part of1st Naval Construction Group
HomeportPort Hueneme California
EngagementsWorld War II
Vietnam War
Gulf War
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Commanders
Current
commander
CDR Gordon E. Meek III

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE (NMCB 3) is a United States Navy Seabee battalion based in Port Hueneme, California.[1]

3rd NCB in World War II[edit source | edit]

Beginning in the summer of 1942, The U.S. Navy's THIRD Naval Construction Battalion played an important part in the building of bases in the Southern Pacific. One of the first Seabee units commissioned during World War II, the 3rd NCB was called upon to perform its job, not as a unit, but as a group of autonomous detachments that participated in a number of combat operations during the Marshall Islands campaign.

After reuniting in 1944, the battalion left Noumea on 22 May to return to Camp Parks, California where on 12 July it was ordered disbanded and then subsequently decommissioned on 16 August 1944.

Korean Era 1950s[edit source | edit]

The Battalion was re-activated as MCB 3 on July 15, 1950 at Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, California. Following its recommissioning on November 5, 1950, MCB 3 worked briefly at Amchitka, Alaska and in October 1951, they arrived in the Philippine Islands where they spent the next 5½ years building Naval Air Station, Cubi Point.

The following four years were spent on Okinawa, Japan constructing Marine Corps Air Facility Futenma. The Battalion’s next major construction job was an airstrip at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, after which MCB 3 served on Okinawa and Guam.

Vietnam War (MCB 3)[edit source | edit]

In May 1965 MCB 3 made its first of three visits to Da Nang, Vietnam constructing more than 500 facilities for the Marine Corps. MCB 3’s second and third tours in Vietnam took them to Chu Lai and Gia Le. In 1966 MCB3 received their First Battle "E", and While in Chu Lai, the Battalion was named Pacific Fleet "Best of Type" on September 11, 1966 by Rear Admiral W. M. Heaman, Commander Construction Battalions. During this period, a third revision occurred to the unit's name: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 (NMCB 3).

In the summer of 1967, MCB 3 Deployed to Phu Bai to support projects for the Third Marine Division. This began with improvements to the air facility at MAG (Marine Air Group) 36. Following that was the development of a complete rock quarry, north of Phu Bai. Part of the battalion started construction of Camp Eagle in support of the 101st Airborne, while others built a 5000,000 gallon P.O.L. facility on Tan Mi island, east of the Imperiol City of Hue. At the same time M.C.B. 3 built up a complete combat base surrounding their own camp. This became Gia Le combat base. It was finished just in time to withstand the 1968 Tet Offensive and the Battle of Hue City. MCB 8 relieved MCB 3 in January 1968 and while deployed with the Marines in Gia Le, assisted their adjacent units with all types of construction, along with general engineering support as well as mortar support. This effort earned the “Better than Best” a Presidential Unit Citation from President Richard Nixon upon their return to the States.

Cold War (NMCB 3)[edit source | edit]

In November 1971 NMCB 3 was deployed to Guam to start construction of a new Seabee camp. The Battalion lived up to its "Better Than Best" motto by constructing enough permanent facilities to have the dedication of Camp Covington on May 4, 1972.

In February 1975 the Battalion deployed to Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean. NMCB 3 contributed to the massive construction effort undertaken by the Naval Construction Force.

NMCB 3 was named "Best of Type" in 1976 and winner of the Peltier Award for providing emergency repairs for all military commands while continuing its normal construction projects throughout the Marinas Islands in the aftermath of Super-Typhoon Pamela.

From April 1977 to August 1982, the Battalion divided into two "teams" (Blue and Gold) which rotated between Port Hueneme and Camp Shields, Okinawa. The Battalion was named "Best of Type" and awarded the Battle "E" in 1978, 1980 and 1981.

Upon returning to homeport, which completed their third deployment of the "Split Concept" in January 1980, NMCB 3's Blue Team was quickly deployed to nearby NAWC Point Mugu, where they played a major role in the flood disaster recovery efforts.

The following homeport of 1981, NMCB 3's Iwakuni Det Blue 4 were assigned to "Project Rimstone" as the night crew, (subsidizing the 31st NCR), located in Santa Barbara, the Det commuted nightly, 140 miles (230 km) from CBC Pt Hueneme, to President Ronald Reagan's ranch. Completing the project on time, the Seabees of this detail received Presidential letters of Commendation, Presented by J.M. Dougherty Commanding Officer of NMCB 3, on 22 October 1982.

In March 1983 the reunited Battalion deployed for the first time to Camp Mitchell, Rota, Spain where it was again named "Best of Type" in the Pacific Fleet.

From 1983 to 1989 the Battalion made routine deployments to the European and Pacific Theaters and was named "Best of Type" in the Pacific Fleet for FY 1987.

In October 1989, while completing a homeport field exercise, the Battalion deployed its Air Detachment from Fort Hunter Liggett, California, to the San Francisco Bay area to provide earthquake recovery assistance. The Air Detachment personnel repaired severely damaged utilities at Naval Air Station Alameda and Naval Station Treasure Island.

The 1990s[edit source | edit]

In January 1990, NMCB 3 returned to Rota. The Air Detachment was dispatched for disaster recovery operations in North Africa where they repaired flood-damaged rail lines, significantly aiding in Tunisia’s economic recovery.

In March 1991, NMCB 3 deployed to Guam and provided Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with Typhoon Owen disaster recovery assistance in Yap. NMCB 3 also cleared runways and repaired utilities at Naval Air Station Cubi Point in support of Operation "Fiery Vigil" following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

NMCB 3 returned to Guam in July 1993, sending a Civil Action Team to Palau and a short-term detail to Saipan to help make preparations for the 50th Anniversary of World War II. Again, the disaster recovery specialists repaired facilities, utilities and schools following the worst earthquake to shake Guam in more than a century, measuring 8.2 on the Richter Scale.

In September 1994, NMCB 3 embarked upon a 14-country, four-continent deployment. Seabees supported the United Nations protection force operation "Provide Promise" by maintaining the U.S. Hospital at Zagreb, Croatia as well as installing surveillance equipment in Baghdad, Iraq.

In November 1995, NMCB 3 deployed details to stateside U.S. military installations for the first time and ended a chapter in Seabee history of Seabee occupation of Diego Garcia.

In January 1997, the Battalion’s main body returned to Camp Mitchell, Rota, Spain. NMCB 3 Bees broke new ground in two Baltic locations new to Seabees, Estonia and Uzbekistan, where they provided construction support during "Operation Baltic Castle" and a U.S. Humanitarian Aid Program (HAP) "Operation Provide Hope."

On April 23, 1998, NMCB 3 participated in the exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT ’98). This was a first-time participation for Seabees in a combined fleet and multi-national exercise of this type.

In Rayong, Thailand, NMCB 3 completed the construction of a second story addition to the Camillian Social Center. The center provides a place for Aids victims during their last days. The Battalion had the opportunity to show exactly how mobile they are when they received a call to action in 1998. A modified Air Detachment quickly deployed to Nairobi, Kenya, in support of "Operation Resolute Response." The detachment assisted in disaster relief efforts, structural repair and the recovery of evidence and classified material following the U.S. embassy bombing.

On May 15, 1999, NMCB 3 headed to Rota, Spain where shortly after arriving on station, the Battalion was called into action in support of Joint Task Force, "Shining Hope." NMCB 3 repaired roads in Northern Albania that were weakened by the steady flow of more than 800,000 Albanian refugees from Kosovo and years of neglect.

Shortly after Detachment Albania left, the mission changed and the Battalion sent an advanced party of 43 personnel into Kosovo. Within two weeks, the battalion integrated Detail Albanian's 150 personnel with an additional 184 Seabees from Camp Mitchell. The mission was to build 64 Davidson style Southeast Asia Huts (SEAhuts) in 90 days for an Army base camp at Camp Monteith, Gnjilane, Kosovo. Maintaining 24-hour operations for nearly two months, THREE stayed on schedule and completed the initial tasking in 89 days. By the time the Battalion departed for homeport in December 1999, they had built more than 80 SEAhuts and constructed more than 40 acres (160,000 m2) of hardstand.

In December 1999, the Battalion returned home after a successful deployment that once again earned them the title "Best of Type" in the Pacific Fleet and earning the right to wear the coveted Battle "E". They were also awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Medal for their work during the 1999 Pacific Deployment.

In July 2000 the Battalion packed up and headed to Guam for their 2000 Pacific Deployment. The Battalion immediately sent out two Detachments for Training.

The first DFT went to Seychelles to dismantle three ray domes. The second went to Indonesia to build a road and repair a schoolhouse. Both of the detachments returned to main body without injury or incident on schedule, having successfully completed the tasking amongst high praise.

Post 9-11[edit source | edit]

Shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001, NMCB 3 deployed to sites across three continents, including the main body in Rota, Spain; details in Thurmont, MD; Tidewater, VA; Naples; Sigonella; Souda Bay; and DFTs to the Republic of Georgia; Stuttgart, Germany; and Gabon, Africa.

With Camp Mitchell in Force Protection Condition Delta for the first time since the Gulf War, THREE deployed an Air Detachment in December 2001 to support Operation Enduring Freedom by constructing 130 Al Qaeda detention cells at Camp X-ray. The Det also constructed 65 SEAhuts for JTF 160 security forces and cleared enough land to construct a 160-bed Fleet Hospital.

In December 2002, NMCB 3 deployed to Camp Shields in Okinawa, Japan, as well as 14 other sites across the pacific and Southwest Asia. Despite changes in deployment schedules and preparations for "Operation Enduring Freedom" and later with "Operation Iraqi Freedom," NMCB 3 kept pace and met all of their operational goals.

After returning from the Okinawa deployment NMCB 3 was again tasked with providing support for both “Operation Enduring Freedom” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom II”. In April 2004, the battalion started their Pacific deployment. THREE had the lead role in Task Force Sierra, a construction task force in support of several joint special operations commands. Detachments in support of OEF were in both the CENTCOM AO and the PACOM AO. In all, NMCB 3 had personnel on the ground at 36 different locations around the world, including two main body sites (Guam and Iraq) and eight other primary detail/detachment sites.

In July 2005, THREE deployed to Iraq with a total of nine Iraq detachments, as well as detachments in Horn of Africa; Souda Bay, Greece; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Andros Island, Bahamas; Rota, Spain; Kingdom of Bahrain; Seychelles Islands. NMCB 3 was the only Seabee battalion to ever be tasked to operate six Convoy Security Teams (CST) continuously, while providing over 11,000 man days of construction support to the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF). NMCB 3’S CSTs safely executed more than 130 successful convoy missions, escorting more than 2,200 vehicles more than 21,500 miles (34,600 km) through the dangerous streets of Iraq, resulting in 17 combat action ribbon awards.

In November 2005, NMCB THREE turned over with NMCB 133 in Fallujah, Iraq and redeployed to Kuwait to set up main body operations in Kuwait to support of Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and Area Support Group, Kuwait. NMCB 3 established the new Main Body deployment site from scratch while integrating over 145 personnel from NMCB 21 and 139 personnel from the Army’s 63rd Construction Support Element. NMCB 3 worked with the Army to develop a master plan for what would become a Seabee main body deployment site for almost five years. Prior to returning home in February 2006, NMCB 3 completed over 20,000 man days of tasking and 58 tasked projects in direct support of the CFLCC mission.

In December 2006, NMCB 3 deployed to the Far East. With the main body group located at Camp Shields, Okinawa, the battalion also sent out detachments to Atsugi, Iwakuni, Sasebo, Fuji and Yokosuka, Japan, Camp Pendleton and San Clemente Island, California, as well as Chinhae, Korea and Diego Garcia. Additionally, the battalion stood up a short-fused detail in Afghanistan to support Special Operations Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. During this deployment, THREE bolstered the Department of Defense’s focus on civil military operations by supporting five detachments for training: three in the Republic of the Philippines, one in Korea, and one in Thailand.

In April 2008, NMCB 3 deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, providing support to First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) in Iraq and assuming control of Task Force Sierra for a second time. The Battalion supported I MEF as they pressed the remnants of Al Qaida and prepared the fledgling Iraq Security Forces to take control of that country’s defenses. Task Force Sierra again supported the tip of Security Forces to take control of that country’s defenses. Task Force Sierra again supported the tip of America’s spear as they aimed to kill or capture Al Qaida and Taliban insurgent leaders. In total, NMCB 3 provided over 72,000 mandays of construction in support of OIF and OEF in this deployment.

After an abbreviated homeport, the Battalion became the first Main Body to deploy to Naval Station Rota, Spain since 2005. After relieving NMCB 11 in August they reopened and improved Camp Mitchell and Naval Station Rota infrastructure. Detachments were also sent to Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia to provide humanitarian construction in these emerging Eastern European countries. More than 300 Seabees served throughout Africa, drilling waterwells, renovating schools, training host national militaries and improving the quality of life in Liberia, Cameroon, Djibouti, Kenya, Comoros and Uganda.

From November 2010 to June 2011 NMCB THREE completed a deployment to Afghanistan where they supported US and Coalition forces spread across more than 30 different locations throughout Afghanistan. Key efforts included the completion of 110 tactical infrastructure projects, ranging from combat outpost builds to route construction, in support of I and II MEF, Special Operations Forces, and Task Force Helmand, a British Led Task Force. THREE’s phenomenal efforts resulted in greatly improved counterinsurgency operations and a more stabilized Afghanistan government.

Most recently, NMCB THREE completed a deployment to Europe and Africa from Feb 2012 to Aug 2012 where they supported combatant commanders in EUCOM and AFRICOM spread across 13 countries in more than 14 sites conducting HCA and ERC construction projects in order to sustain and improve relations with partner countries. The countries that NMCB THREE deployed to include Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Morocco, Togo, Ghana, Liberia.

Current operations[edit source | edit]

NMCB THREE is currently in Port Hueneme California and is training for a Summer deployment to Asia in 2013.

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ www.seabee.navy.mil

External links[edit source | edit]