Curator’s Corner- NMCB 74 and the FEARLESS Beaver

Fearless Beaver of NMCB 74 FEARLESS Beaver of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 [U.S Navy Seabee Museum]

Many Seabee Battalions can trace their battalion history back to World War II and the creation of the Construction Battalions. The “Fearless 74,” better known as Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 (NMCB) is one of those battalions. Originally known as the 74th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB), they were activated April 28, 1943, at the Naval Construction Training Center in Camp Perry, Williamsburg, Virginia.

From the battalion’s humble beginnings during WWII, the 74th NCB used the beaver as their battalion logo. Frank J. Iafrate, who created the idea for the Seabee logo, his first idea was originally a beaver, the builder. But after some research, it was found that while beavers are good builders, however when threatened, they retreat; where bees are both builders and fighters. So the beaver idea was abandoned.

patch for NMCB 74 with beaver

Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB 74) Patch [U.S Navy Seabee Museum]

The “Fearless 74” served in the island-hopping campaign to reclaim Imperial Japanese held territory in the South Pacific. Often landing with the Marine Corps, the Battalion constructed support facilities on Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Berlin Islands. In the rapid demobilization in the autumn of 1945, an increasing number of battalions were returning home. The 74th NCB was inactivated on October 31, 1945, on the island of Okinawa.

On December 6th, 1966, NMCB 74 was recommissioned as an active Seabee battalion and adopted the motto “Does More.” During the years from 1967-1970, the battalion made four deployments to Vietnam serving in various locations: Da Nang, Cam Lo, Dong Hoa, Quang Tri, Quang Nagi, Chau Doc, and Bien Hoa.

Following the Vietnam War, the battalion participated in peacetime construction efforts around the globe, including deployments to Diego Garcia; Guam; Okinawa, Japan; Puerto Rico; Rota, Spain; and Sigonella, Sicily.

In 1990 NMCB 74 deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm and built one of the largest ammunition facilities in the world. They also built a 1,500 foot stabilized soil runway for C-130 aircraft, two large Marine camps, and assisted NMCB 5 in building a 15,000-man camp known as “Wally World.” In 1998, the battalion reestablished its original “Fearless” motto.

Members of NMCB 74 and beaver before beaver shipped to U.S. Navy Seabee Museum

Members of NMCB 74 say goodbye to the FEARLESS beaver before it is shipped to the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, CA “where an easy life of tree-felling and dam-building awaits” [Courtesy of NMCB 74]

The FEARLESS Beaver pictured above was given to NMCB 74 from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. NMCB 74 deployed in August 2009 for a scheduled six-month deployment. They provided contingency construction support with many detachments and details, and were in direct support of not only U.S. forces, but NATO and International Security Afghan Forces (ISAF) forces as well. Upon the decommissioning of the battalion on July 25, 2014 at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) in Gulfport, Mississippi, the FEARLESS Beaver, along with the official records of the battalion were sent to the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, CA for preservation.

NMCB 74 served in every corner of the world, doing every type of Seabee mission, whether that was supporting major combat operations, disaster recovery, or humanitarian assistance.

To learn more information about NMCB 74 click here. Come visit the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 2-4pm to stop by our Curator’s Corner event to see the FEARLESS Beaver up close.

Editor’s Note: All information is accurate per information the museum has on file to date.

Robyn profile picMeet the Curator: Robyn King “Meet the Curator: Robyn King is pursuing her master’s degree in Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management through Johns Hopkins University. She 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 Park Service, and most recently the Navy. She is 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 she is not working, she is volunteering her time with the National Peace Corps Association, as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from West Africa.”


10 comments on “Curator’s Corner- NMCB 74 and the FEARLESS Beaver

  1. GP Cox says:

    Excellent post, Ms. King.


  2. William c butts says:

    The bever came from Sharon ct road kill and taxiderm was done by CM1 John Humphries CBMU 202 I know this because I was in NMCB 74 and CBMU and have him the bever

    Liked by 2 people

  3. GP Cox says:

    Reblogged this on Pacific Paratrooper and commented:
    A piece of history we don’t want to miss.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ralietravels says:

    GP Cox brought me to you site which I will visit again.
    Coincidentally, we picked up a book in a used bookstore this week: “Seabee” by Henry B. Lent, 1944. Inside the cover is the hand-written inscriptionn “R.W. Kentnor – Carp. Mate 1st Class 106 Batt. Comp 5 – Later changed to C.B. Mill. – 533. Discharged 12-13-45 T. I. Calif. Serial # 809-85-66 This book given to me by my wife Mary in the year of 1960
    It is in a stack of books we bought but now it will move to the top.


  5. This link isn’t correct…
    To learn more information about NMCB 74 click here. Come visit the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 2-4pm to stop by our Curator’s Corner event to see the FEARLESS Beaver up close.


  6. Great post, enjoyed reading that history on the SeaBees, and good to read the added info on the origin of The Beaver.


  7. […] Source: Curator’s Corner- NMCB 74 and the FEARLESS Beaver […]


  8. Rodney Yost says:

    Desert Shield/storm, look who built MSR-1 used as the “Highway to Victory” by the armored forces. We were forward deployed to build it!


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