Museum Happenings: Seabee Museum to Launch Youth STEM Center

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A Seabee assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four (NMCB 4), works in the STEM Center during installation phase. NMCB 4 Seabees assisted with the construction of the STEM Center collaborating with the museums exhibit design team to bring the center to life.

Patrons of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum are invited to the launch of its newest exhibit, the youth-oriented STEM Center June 6 at 1 p.m.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and MATH, which are the four educational tenets that stimulate innovation in today’s youth. The focus of the STEM Center will be to tie these tenets to the historical resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Navy’s Construction Force, better known as the Seabees, as well as the Civil Engineer Corps, and Underwater Construction Teams.

The STEM Center’s creation is the result of collaboration between the museum’s exhibit planning team and local Seabee battalions, namely Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four (NMCB 4). The funding was made possible by the Powell Family, who graciously donated money raised in memory of their middle child, Kennedy, who died at 15 months old on Jan. 2, 2014.

“Thank you to the community and the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum for providing a lasting memorial for Kennedy that will entertain and inspire children for years to come,” said Jessica Powell, Kennedy’s mother. “Kennedy touched many lives during her short 15 months of life, and while her time with us has past, we are thrilled to honor her by educating local youth about STEM principles, the U.S Navy and the Seabees through this amazing exhibit.

Museum Curator Kim Crowell and Exhibit Specialist Tim Morales, mix the paint to apply to the walls during installation phase.

Museum Curator Kim Crowell and Exhibit Specialist Tim Morales, mix the paint to apply to the walls during installation phase.

Each presentation within the STEM Center will offer a hands-on look at each Seabee job rating using a myriad of classic and modern toy and building sets that will entertain as well as educate in an environment that fosters communication and teamwork.

“The interactive nature of this exhibit will not only stimulate learning about the core STEM principles, but it will also give visitors – both young and old – a more tactical appreciation of the mission of the Seabees and Civil Engineer Corps,” said Dr. Lara Godbille, museum director. “The exhibit will also provide the museum a new opportunity to better engage with the local schools in fulfilling their STEM learning requirements while simultaneously educating them about the relevance of the U.S Navy both globally and locally.”

Members of the press are reminded of the June 2nd deadline to RSVP for the media day preview on June 4 at 1 p.m. Email the PR manager, Aramis Ramirez at aramis.ramirez@navy.mil.

Archivist’s Attic: As Amirkian as Apple Pie – The Seabees and the Ammi Pontoons, Part 1

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As we wind down from our Memorial Day festivities, our bellies full of hamburgers and hotdogs, potato salad and some good craft beer, what could be more American than Amirkian? No, that’s not a misspelling and believe me, spell check has it underlined. Dr. Arsham Amirkian helped us through World War II, the conflict in Vietnam and beyond. He was an American engineer known for his ingenuity and many innovative projects, which served the Navy, the Seabees, the entire technical community and engineering profession.

Amirikian

His most famous design concept was the Advanced Military Mobilization Implement (AMMI), which enabled the Seabees to construct various pontoons and bridges. This provided a solution to the problem of advance base construction. In order to understand why the AMMI pontoon changed the way the Seabees maneuvered items, we first need to understand the ideas that Amirkian came up with and the man behind them.

Dr. Arsham Amirikian was born in Kighie Armenia in 1899. By 1923 he had immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Chevy Chase, Maryland where he started his career as a structural draftsman working for five steel fabrication shops. In 1928, he joined the U.S. Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks as a structural engineering assistant. He advanced through the ranks, ending up as the chief engineering consultant.

Throughout his career he was granted various awards including Civilian Career Achievement Awards, Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award and various awards from welding and concrete societies. In addition to the awards he received, he maintained long associations with technical and professional societies and took an active part in their work through committees. One of the benefits of these associations were the collaborations he formed with other engineers. These collaborations came up with various new designs, such as a new code for welding reinforcing bars. Collaborations of this sort were rarely available before. The most interesting part was that these new collaboration concepts were done without industry standards or guidelines.

Amirikian built his career covering a wide variety of shore facilities and floating craft. His entire career was devoted to developing and improving methods of structural analysis, framing arrangements of increased efficiency combined with construction techniques and procedures of greater economy.

Seabees Working

The most impressive of these developments was the AMMI pontoon systems and his invention of the biserrated orthotropic framing system (more on this later). The AMMI was developed primarily as a cause way component for use in the shallow waters of Vietnam to transfer cargo from deep-draft vessels anchored great distances from shore. Stay tuned to see how these AMMI pontoons were different from conventional pontoons and what the Seabees used them for!

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150225-N-JU810-001Meet the Archivist: Ingi House
Ingi House is originally from Kansas where she got her B.A. in history from K.U. and M.L.S. from E.S.U. After working for the Dole Institute of Politics she moved to the East Coast.  In D.C. she worked at the National Archives and Records Admiration and then at the Defense Acquisition University where she became a Certified Archivist. Her continued enjoyment of military history lead her to switching coasts and coming to work for the Seabee Museum where she is collection manager for the archives and records manager liaison

Curator’s Corner: MRAP Calls the Grand Hall Home

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle in the Grand Hall of the Seabee Museum.

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle in the Grand Hall of the Seabee Museum.

We have a new addition to our museum collection that is now on permanent exhibit at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. Introducing the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, more commonly known as a MRAP.

This vehicle and others like it were manufactured for use during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The need for MRAPs came about when it became known that the deadliest threat to US troops in Iraq had turned out to be roadside bombs. Prior to the MRAP, the use of armored HMMWV’s “Humvees” was used, but they did not give the amount of protection the troops needed against Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks and ambushes.

IEDs have caused a majority of the causalities in the U.S. military in their activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. IEDs are bombs constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action. Since MRAPs have been fielded, there has been a significant decrease in IED causalities, with some sources attributing as much as 80 percent decrease due to the MRAP.

MRAP, a family of armored fighting vehicles usually have a V- shaped hull to deflect any explosive force originating below the vehicle. The compartments are designed to protect troops from the explosive force. MRAPs weigh between 14 to 18 tons, are 9 feet high and cost between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

This vehicle, a Category II Cougar Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOP) Rapid Response Vehicle (JERRV) is designed for missions including convoy lead, troop transport, ambulance, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering.

Come see it in the Grand Hall at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum today

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150225-N-JU810-010Meet the Curator: Robyn King
Robyn King earned her Bachelors in History and Anthropology from the State University of New York at Oneonta. She has experience working at State Museums, Historic Sites, the National Parks Service, and most recently the Navy. She’s an expert in collection management, and has worked closely with both natural and cultural collections. Robyn loves all museums and sharing her love of history. When’s she not working, she’s volunteering her time with the National Peace Corps Association, as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from West Africa.

Museum Happenings: NHHC’s Senior Historian Presents American Revolutionary War Lecture

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U.S. Navy Seabee Museum patrons are invited to a special speaking engagement with Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) Senior Historian, Dr. Michael Crawford on May 20 at 6 p.m.

Crawford, who holds a doctorate in American History from Boston University, will present his traveling lecture, “Naval Documents of the American Revolution” which will cover the broader elements of his award-winning 12-volume series of the same name with emphasis on the 12th volume published earlier this year.

“The spring of 1778 witnessed significant changes and the acceleration of changes already in motion in the nature of naval warfare during the American Revolution,” said Crawford in his lecture summary. “Many of these changes, although vitally important in understanding the American Revolution, have been virtually ignored in history books. This talk will provide a new and exciting perspective to anyone interested in the Revolutionary War or in America’s naval heritage.”

The lecture will provide an opportunity for the community to see firsthand one of the main functions of the Seabee Museum and NHHC, its parent command, said Dr. Lara Godbille, museum director.

“NHHC manages the official history program of the United States Navy, fulfilling its mission to strengthen the Navy’s effectiveness by preserving, analyzing, and interpreting the service’s hard-earned experience,” Godbille explained. “Dr. Crawford’s lecture will provide an opportunity to the local Ventura County to learn more about the role of the Navy during the American Revolution from a world-renown expert on the subject.”

Archivist’s Attic: Everybody Does It – Heads

There are a few things in life that everyone has to do, eat, sleep, breath and use the head (or, the “bathroom” as it’s known to non-Navy folk). Some of these things we do without thinking others we need tools to help us. When you got to go, you got to go, but where do you go? The Seabees are there to help! With the Can Do! attitude that helps you do your job with the right equipment in the right places. They know the special tools needed and in what types of environments different heads work best.

Before we understand the different types of heads that the Seabees help build, it’s good to understand what we are talking about.

The head, the top, the front, you would think if anything toilets would be called the end, the back or even the bottom considering their use. So why then are toilets referred to as heads? The term head actually comes from early sailing ships in which the toilet area for the regular sailors was placed at the ‘head’ or bow of the ship. But why was it placed there? After all, if you are sailing into the wind and place the toilet at the head of the ship then the crew is going to get a lot more blow back than simply sea foam.

The reason it was placed there was based on how the ship moved through the water. Most vessels of the era could not sail directly into the wind. The winds came mostly across the rear of the ship placing the head essentially downwind. Additionally if placed somewhat above the water line, vents or slots cut near the floor level would allow normal wave action to wash out the facility.

Vasa

That folks is how we get the word head as a synonymy for toilet, crapper, latrine and various other slang words.

Though the word ‘head’ comes from ship use, it is now widely used throughout the Navy, Marines, and the rest of the military and has even made its way into civilian use. If you say ‘head’ to anyone in the general population, toilet, will be one of the things people think of.

Now that we have a bit of history on the meaning of the word ‘head’ let’s learn a bit more about the different types there are and why they are used.

The easiest and quickest method of disposal is called the cat hole. Think of it as a litter box and just how a cat digs a hole and then covers it up, this method is used by individuals during short halts when troops are on a march.

If units are only stopping for a day or two or are waiting on better facilities to be built a straddle trench latrine is a good short term solution. Two to three trenches are dug about 2 feet apart. Each trench is 1 foot wide x 2.5 feet deep x 4 feet long and can accommodate two soldiers at one time. These latrines are uncovered trenches without a seat above, though boards maybe placed on the ground along both sides to provide better footing so that no one has the unfortunate experience of falling into the latrine, and to prevent crumbling or cave-in of sides. Excreta must be covered with soil after each use since the trenches are open to filth flies, thereby reducing the serviceable volume. Toilet paper, if the luxury is available, is placed on suitable holders and protected from bad weather by a tin can or other covering. The usual duration of these latrines is approximately one to three days.

over water

Slightly longer lasting facilities that enable a bit more privacy and a bit less risk of falling in are mound and deep pit latrines. These heads improve upon the trench latrines by building walls and providing a two or four seat box on top with the added luxury of a seat. The edges around the box and hole are sealed with soil, and seat lids seal when closed to keep filth flies out. A mound latrine is simply the basic deep pit latrine built on top of a mound and is used when a high ground level or a rock formation near the ground surface prevents digging a deep pit. A dirt mound makes it possible to build a deep pit and still not extend it into the ground water or rock. The usual duration is between 33 to 35 days.

close up

For longer lasting facilities and if the soil is too hard, rocky or frozen the infamous burn-out latrine will be used. To construct a burn-out latrine, an oil drum is used, and handles are welded to the sides of the half drum for easy carrying. A wooden seat with a fly-proof, self-closing lid is placed on top of the drum. Depending on circumstances he latrine is burned out either daily or when full by adding sufficient fuel to incinerate the fecal matter. A mixture of 1 quart (1 liter) of gasoline to 4 quarts (4 liters) of diesel oil is effective, but must be used with caution. If possible, have two sets of drums, one set for use while the other set is being burned clean. If the contents are not rendered dry and odorless by one burning, they should be burned again. Any remaining ash should be buried. These latrines can be constructed quickly and can last indefinitely. One of the few drawbacks though of the burn-outs is that just like other odors produced by the requirement of latrines; the smoke from the burn out announces its presence and is not healthy to those around it.

burnout type four hole

Another longer lasting alternative are the chemical toilets. These toilets are used in the field when federal, state, or local laws prohibit the use of other field latrines. These toilets are self-contained in that they have a holding tank with chemical additives to aid in decomposition of the waste and for odor control. The number of such facilities required is established by the surgeon or other medical authority. The facility must be cleaned daily, and the contents pumped out for disposal in a conventional sanitary waste water system. The frequency of emptying is determined by the demand for use of the device.

headcollection

A latrine type, that acts most like a septic tank and can be connected to plumbing lines, is the force provider. These are containerized or palletized latrines that are part of the larger system. Wastewater from latrines, known as black water, is collected in 380-gal holding tanks beneath the latrines. These latrines must be pumped out periodically with a sewage vacuum truck. The length of use is only limited by the disposal area.

051027-N-1261P-049 Muzafarrabad, Pakistan (Oct. 27, 2005) - U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven Four (NMCB-74) place latrines at their command operation center in Muzafarrabad, Pakistan. The United States is participating in a multi-national assistance and support effort led by the Pakistani Government to bring aid to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the region on October 8th, 2005. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Powell (RELEASED)

051027-N-1261P-049
Muzafarrabad, Pakistan (Oct. 27, 2005) – U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven Four (NMCB-74) place latrines at their command operation center in Muzafarrabad, Pakistan. The United States is participating in a multi-national assistance and support effort led by the Pakistani Government to bring aid to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the region on October 8th, 2005. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Powell (RELEASED)

Depending on the needs of the unit and the location as well as population units might use one, two or all of the various head variations. Try one or try them all but know that when you go, the Seabees will be there to help!

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150225-N-JU810-001Meet the Archivist: Ingi House
Ingi House is originally from Kansas where she got her B.A. in history from K.U. and M.L.S. from E.S.U. After working for the Dole Institute of Politics she moved to the East Coast.  In D.C. she worked at the National Archives and Records Admiration and then at the Defense Acquisition University where she became a Certified Archivist. Her continued enjoyment of military history lead her to switching coasts and coming to work for the Seabee Museum where she is collection manager for the archives and records manager liaison

Museum Happenings: Announcing our new STEM Center!

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Today we are proud to announce the coming of our newest exhibit, our STEM Center, currently being installed at the Seabee Museum. This youth-oriented interactive exhibit will explore the four educational tenets of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math while incorporating them into the knowledge fundamentals of the seven Seabee job ratings.

The goal is to stimulate learning at all ages while respecting the ingenuity and innovation historically linked to the Seabee community since their inception during WWII.

We’ll be sharing a lot more in the coming weeks, including details about our special launch event on June 6. Stay tuned and we hope you’ll be as excited as we are (who wouldn’t be when there are Etch-a-Sketches involved? Right?) 🙂

Our Cultural Expanse: Asian & Pacific Islanders, 1992-Present

While the Navy ceased recruitment efforts specifically targeting Filipino Americans, it remains the top service of choice for them and Filipino nationals. Throughout the current century, they have contributed to the all-inclusive, all-volunteer Navy, making it one of those powerful navies in the world due it its multi-cultural diversity.

“It is our goal that every ship, work center, community, and rank is representative of our nation’s diversity.” — Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations

In 2014, more than 43,000 Asian and Pacific Islanders served on active duty in the Navy.

While we conclude our Asian and Pacific Islander presentation, we would like to invite you to our formal presentation with special guest speaker Susan Ahn Cuddy, former Navy lieutenant who was the first Asian American woman to serve in the Navy when she joined the Woman Accepted for Emergency Services (WAVES) during WWII. The speaking engagement will be Saturday May 9, 2015 at 10 a.m. in the Seabee Museum Main Education Room.

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Explore our parent command, Naval History and Heritage Command‘s historical presentation: Asian and Pacific Islanders.

For non-military presentations, visit the official website for Asian and Pacific American History Month.