Curator’s Corner- Detail Kilo and Timber Bunkers

bunker model

Newly acquired donation of a scaled model of a wooden timber bunker by retired Seabee John O’Brien [U.S. Navy Seabee Museum]

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.

 

photo used to create model

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy used to recreated the model of the wooden timber bunker [U.S. Navy Seabee Museum]

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.

 

map of south vietnam with camps

Locations MCB 10 were widely dispersed into smaller details to construct roads, camps, and bunkers throughout South Vietnam. [MCB 10 1968 Cruise book, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Archives]

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.

 

photograph of detail kilo NMCB 10

Photograph of Detail Kilo [MCB 10 1968 Cruise book, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Archives]

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.

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.”

Museum Happenings: STEM Center Launches

150606-N-JU810-015 PORT HUENEME, Calif. (June 6, 2015) U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. William Powell and his family cut the ribbon celebrating the opening of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. The Powell Family raised the funds to build the center in memory of their daughter, Kennedy, who died in January 2014 from a rare illness when she was 15 months old. The exhibit will be the center of youth educational programming for the museum by tying in the educational tenets of STEM with the history and fundamentals of the Seabee job ratings. (Photo by Aramis X. Ramirez, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum/RELEASED)

150606-N-JU810-015 PORT HUENEME, Calif. (June 6, 2015) U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. William Powell and his family cut the ribbon celebrating the opening of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. The Powell Family raised the funds to build the center in memory of their daughter, Kennedy, who died in January 2014 from a rare illness when she was 15 months old. The exhibit will be the center of youth educational programming for the museum by tying in the educational tenets of STEM with the history and fundamentals of the Seabee job ratings. (Photo by Aramis X. Ramirez, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum/RELEASED)

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.

150606-N-JU810-014 PORT HUENEME, Calif. (June 6, 2015) U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Director Dr. Lara Godbille welcomes visitors to the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. William Powell and his wife Jessica donated the funds to build the center in memory of their daughter, Kennedy, who died in January 2014 from a rare illness when she was 15 months old. The exhibit will be the center of youth educational programming for the museum by tying in the educational tenets of STEM with the history and fundamentals of the Seabee job ratings. (Photo by Aramis X. Ramirez, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum/RELEASED)

150606-N-JU810-014 PORT HUENEME, Calif. (June 6, 2015) U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Director Dr. Lara Godbille welcomes visitors to the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. William Powell and his wife Jessica donated the funds to build the center in memory of their daughter, Kennedy, who died in January 2014 from a rare illness when she was 15 months old. The exhibit will be the center of youth educational programming for the museum by tying in the educational tenets of STEM with the history and fundamentals of the Seabee job ratings. (Photo by Aramis X. Ramirez, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum/RELEASED)

“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.”

150606-N-JU810-016 PORT HUENEME, Calif. (June 6, 2015) U.S. Navy Seabee Museum patrons explore the museum’s newest exhibit the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. William Powell and his wife Jessica donated the funds to build the center in memory of their daughter, Kennedy, who died in January 2014 from a rare illness when she was 15 months old. The exhibit will be the center of youth educational programming for the museum by tying in the educational tenets of STEM with the history and fundamentals of the Seabee job ratings. (Photo by Aramis X. Ramirez, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum/RELEASED)

150606-N-JU810-016 PORT HUENEME, Calif. (June 6, 2015) U.S. Navy Seabee Museum patrons explore the museum’s newest exhibit the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. William Powell and his wife Jessica donated the funds to build the center in memory of their daughter, Kennedy, who died in January 2014 from a rare illness when she was 15 months old. The exhibit will be the center of youth educational programming for the museum by tying in the educational tenets of STEM with the history and fundamentals of the Seabee job ratings. (Photo by Aramis X. Ramirez, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum/RELEASED)

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

Honoring Shields: Events Around the Country

Marvin_Shields_jpeg

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:

Gardiner, Washington
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.

shields gravestone

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: leslie.yuenger@navy.mil   phone: 360-396-6387.

RSVP here.

Uniform
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.

Location:
1001 Addor St.,
Port Hueneme, CA 93043
POC: Dr. Lara Godbille email: seabeemuseum@navy.mil   phone: 805-982-5167

Gulfport, Mississippi
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.

Uniform
Military: Uniform of the day
Civilian: Appropriate Attire

Honoring Shields: ST 1104 Arrives in Dong Xoai

ST1104

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.

Dong Xoai

Dong Xoai

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.

Honoring Shields: Recounting those fateful final days of Marvin G. Shields

Marvin_Shields_jpeg

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.

Museum Happenings: Seabee Museum to Launch Youth STEM Center

STEM Center-04

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.

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

revolutionary_war

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.”