The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum will host a “Pop-Up Museum” on March 3rd, 2018 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Pop-Up Museums are an aspect of “Community Curation,” a community event where people bring in their personal artifacts for display. We are asking participants to bring artifacts directly related to the Seabee and CEC experience. Examples include war trophies, trench art created in a combat zone, personal pictures and letters, items collected in the field, specialized tools and other items of interest.
Halloween was celebrated at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum with a story telling session by the Seabee Zombie. The STEM Center was filled with fog, the guest arrived, and the Seabee Zombie with his wife, the Mistress of the Night, appeared to tell stories from Eric Mills’ book, “The Spectral Tide: True Ghost Stories of the U.S. Navy.” Stories were told of brave sailors who fell victim to the wages of war.
One story was of the Sullivan brothers, who all five perished in the Solomon Islands after their ship the USS Juneau was bombed, torpedoed, and sunk. Stories were told of the USS Hornet, the most haunted ship in the Navy, such as the angry captured Japanese pilot. A kamikaze pilot missed his mark, rescued by the Hornet’s sailors, thrown into the brig, and then committed suicide. To this day the kamikaze pilot still roams the brig, attacking whoever spends the night there.
Other stories included the USS Lexington and their friendly ghost everyone calls “Charlie” and the guilt-ridden officer’s ghost, who keeps trying to get back to his station on the USS Arizona after he left it for some insignificant reason just before the sneak attack, and was killed on the initial wave.
One story is of the “Smoking Man,” a sailor who observed the gathering ships for the Battle of Midway from the Atoll’s dock, who is still seen there to this day. Stories were told of the USS North Carolina which is presently moored in Wilmington, as a museum. Tourist have been scared-off the ship when they observed chairs moving by themselves, or the caretaker and his girlfriend who saw a face looking at them from a padlocked room on the ship when they were on the dock. All enjoyed the afternoon of storytelling and sharing ghost stories.
The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum has recently acquired a scaled model of a wooden timber bunker for its permanent collection. Donor John O’Brien served with MCB 10 as a 3rd class Builder Heavy (BUH3) and was a member of Detail KILO. John O’Brien recreated this timber bunker based on a U.S. Navy photograph he received before departing MCB 10 in 1968. According to Mr. O’Brien, over 30 of these bunkers were built and assembled by breaking the men into groups of 4 to accomplish a certain task on each bunker before moving on to the next.
The men of Mobile Construction Battalion 10 (MCB 10), who are commonly referred to as the “Men of Ten”, accomplished many courageous tasks while deployed during the Vietnam Conflict. Their third deployment to Vietnam in 1967-68 was unique because it was the first time that the battalion had been so widely dispersed rather than keeping them together. Construction detail crews were spread across South Vietnam, just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Vietnam. The DMZ ran east to west along the Ben Hai River near the 17th parallel and extended 5 kilometers on each side of the river.
According to MCB 10’s cruise book, Delta Company, consisting primarily of builders and steelworkers, was one of two general construction companies in the battalion. Its function was vertical construction, such as steel and wooden frame buildings, bridges and revetments (retaining walls). Because of widely spread construction sites, the company was broken down into smaller details.
Detail INDIA departed Gia Le for Phu Bai on September 28, 1967 to construct living quarters for the First Marine Air Wing. Work was well underway; when Detail INDIA was disbanded on November 2, 1967 due to the need for Seabees to preform higher priority work near the DMZ, in the I Corps area. The I Corps encompassed the five northernmost provinces in South Vietnam. Detail KILO was established on the same day, November 2, 1967, to complete heavy timber ammo and personnel bunkers at Cam Lo for the Marines. Their mission was completed in just over thirty days, eleven days ahead of schedule. Detail KILO returned to base camp on December 18, 1967 where the battalion regrouped and continued to work throughout the remainder of the deployment to change a sand-surrounded airstrip site at Quang Tri into a sprawling military complex.
Mr. O’Brien recalled his commander of Detail KILO, LTJG Phillip Crocket, challenging the crews to catch up with the crew ahead of them by claiming the crew was already done and enjoying a beer. If they caught up with them, they could rest and have a beer too. Crockets motivational plan worked to complete the project in record time, although no one rested until the completion of the project.
According the Commanding Officer of MCB 10, D.A. Bartley, he said “it was an interesting and rewarding deployment not only from the standpoint of the construction accomplishment, but also from the accolades received from our ‘customers’, the Marines and Army, for [the battalions] outstanding performance, devotion and dedication to duty.”
Come to the museum on August 2, 2016 2-4pm and learn more about the timber bunker and other behind the scene collections at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum.
Meet 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.”
The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum held a ribbon cutting ceremony, launching its newest youth-oriented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Center June 6.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math 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 (CEC), and Underwater Construction Teams.
Funding for the exhibit came from an unexpected source, said Dr. Lara Godbille, museum director. U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. William Powell and his wife, Jessica, offered the money they raised from a memorial fund in honor of their middle child, Kennedy, who died Jan. 2, 2014 as a result of a rare bowel obstruction.
“Our goal with this exhibit is to give back to the children so that they may learn to love, grow, and play,” said Tech Sgt. Powell. “Kennedy was the happiest of babies and I know that she would want nothing but happiness and love for the children and families that get the chance to play and learn here at this exhibit.”
Both Powell and Godbille hope that the joint effort in bringing to life the STEM Center will demonstrate the importance of educating today’s youth.
“STEM transcends military branch and industry in today’s world,” said Godbille. “It is vital to offer a space of learning for today’s youth in a way that stimulates imagination, fosters communication and teamwork, and allows a free flow of ideas, much in the same way the Seabees have done throughout their history. But this is not just a Seabee exhibit, or an Air Force one; it’s an exhibit that embodies the ideals of learning and community that everyone can enjoy.”
Museum Curator Kim Crowell, who served as project lead for the STEM Center noted the theme of cooperation and teamwork, was most important in the exhibit’s construction.
“Any exhibit in the museum is the result of thousands of man hours,” she said. “With this one, it was important that the community played a part, so we enlisted the aid of Seabees from [Naval Mobile Construction Battalion] Four so that they could contribute to the space that will inspire children to think in ways that could make better thinkers and leaders in the future.”
To simulate that thinking, visitors in the exhibit are presented with interactive presentations on each of the seven Seabee job ratings and the Underwater Construction Team.
“Toys such as remote-controlled Caterpillar tractors, mini-wind turbines, chaos towers, sound-powered telephones, and building toys such as Lego bricks allow patrons to experience STEM in a fun way,” Crowell explained. “There was a lot of love that went into this exhibit. We hope the community finds as much fun in it as we had in designing and building it.”
Hi-resolution images of the launch event can be viewed and downloaded from our Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavyseabeemuseum/sets/72157653723516470
Various commands around the country will join the Seabee Museum in honoring Medal of Honor recipient Marvin G. Shields by hosting their own commemorations. Check out and see what’s in your region:
June 10, 2015 at 11 a.m.
NAVFAC Northwest is conducting a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the loss of Medal of Honor recipient CM3 Marvin G. Shields. A remembrance ceremony is planned at his gravesite at the Gardiner Cemetery in Gardiner, WA.
The event is to remember and honor the heroic actions of CM3 Shields, Seabee Team 1104 and U.S. Army Special Forces Detachment A-342 for their heroic actions during the battle of Dong Xoai. The host of the event is CAPT Mark Geronime, Commanding Officer Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest. Invited guests include: Governor Jay Inslee, Washington State, Joan Shields-Bennett, CAPT (Ret) Dick Bennett, RADM Kate Gregory, FORCM Chris Levesque, members of Seabee Team 1104 and their families, 5th Special Forces Commander, and members of Detachment A-342 and their families.
All Seabee veterans and their families are invited, as well as the general public. Refreshments will be served immediately after the ceremony at the Gardiner Community Center and the local Port Townsend (WA) American Legion Marvin Shields Post 26 will also have open house with food and drinks.
POC: Leslie Yuenger, Public Affairs Officer, NAVFAC NW email: email@example.com phone: 360-396-6387.
Military: Summer White
Civilian: Appropriate Attire
Port Hueneme, California
June 10 at 6p.m.
The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum will be presenting a lecture by museum director Dr. Lara Godbille on the Battle of Dong Xoai, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the those events. Parking and admission are free. Open to the public.
1001 Addor St.,
Port Hueneme, CA 93043
POC: Dr. Lara Godbille email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 805-982-5167
June 12 at 10 a.m.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ELEVEN will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of Medal of Honor recipient CM3 Marvin G. Shields. The ceremony will be conducted at Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS, Base Training Hall, building 446. The event will be highlighted with a special presentation by Dr. Lara Godbille, the director of the Seabee museum. The presiding officer is CDRE John Adametz, Commander Naval Construction Group TWO.
Military: Uniform of the day
Civilian: Appropriate Attire
Today in the #HonoringShields timeline, nine members of ST 1104 (pictured above) arrive at Dong Xoai to begin work on repairing existing and building new facilities for 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces as well as the Vietnamese Civilian Irregular Defense Group. They had previously completed similar construction projects at Ben Soi.
Don’t Forget: We’ll be closing our commemoration with a presentation by Seabee Museum Director Dr. Lara Godbille about the Battle of Dong Xoai, June 10 at 6 p.m.
Today we begin a week-long focus on the life of Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields.
Shields was the first and only Seabee to earn the Medal of Honor, awarded for his valiant efforts during the Vietnam Conflict in the Battle of Dong Xoai. He died from wounds he sustained during the battle on June 10, 1965.
Hailing from Port Townsend, Wash., Shields joined the Navy in January 1962. He completed training as a construction mechanic in Sept. 1963 upon which he was assigned to A Company, Mobile construction Battalion 11. He deployed with Seabee Team 1104 in January 1965 out of Port Hueneme, traveling to Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in Saigon.
Over the course of the next week, we will explore the timeline of the final days of Shields. This will culminate in a presentation on the Battle of Dong Xoai by Seabee Museum Director Dr. Lara Godbille, June 10 at 6 p.m. in the museum’s education room.
“As the first Navy personnel to be killed in Vietnam, and the only Seabee to be awarded the Medal of Honor, Marvin Shields is the most well-known Seabee in the community,” she said. “This presentation will examine what actions he took to earn the award and solidify his legacy. It should be interesting to both members of the Seabee family, and the general public that want to learn more about American involvement in Vietnam.”
Godbille noted the presentation will coincide with the reopening of the museum’s memorial room which will be called the Hall of Fallen Heroes.
“Patrons can learn more about Shields and other Seabees and CEC officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” she said. “The space, which was revamped to honor fallen Seabees from WWII to current operations, will feature an entirely new presentation on Marvin Shields that we feel reflects who he was and the reverence the Seabee community has for him.”
We hope you will follow with us as we commemorate the life of a Seabee who embodied the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.