JUNE 6, 1944
More than 200,000 Allied Nation forces stormed the beaches of France in a massive operation named OVERLORD. Each beach had a different code name, Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
The common element to each of the beaches was the artificial harbors that allowed for supply transport during and in the days after the operation. These “harbors” were actually pontoon causeways as seen in the image below:
Every Allied Nation and every U.S. armed forces branch played a part in OVERLORD, including the Navy and especially the Seabees. More than 10,000 Seabees from various units comprising the 25th Naval Construction Regiment were charged with not only building and maintaining these causeways, but also ensuring safe landing and operability of equipment on the sandy beaches. This required the rapid placement of marston matting that allowed for machine operation on the beaches, a vital tool which was noted as one of the elements that lead to the Allied Nations winning the war.
The Seabee Museum’s Atlantic Theater presentation also tells the story of the Seabee’s D-Day involvement:
With a closer look at the beautiful mural:
Since their inception in WWII, the Seabees have been involved in every conflict and humanitarian effort in which the United States played a part. Normandy was a prime example of how the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Seabees and Civil Engineer Corps helped elevate the community into the robust force we know it today.
For more info and imagery on D-Day, be sure to check out our parent command, Naval History and Heritage Command’s presentation.