Our Cultural Expanse kicks off again this month as May is national Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. For the next week we’ll be focusing on different time periods in the U.S. Navy’s history, focus on the contributions and achievements of Asian and Pacific Islanders.
We’ll conclude our heritage focus on Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. with a guest presentation at the museum featuring Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first Asian American women to serve in the U.S. Navy. We hope you’re able to stop by to speak with such a distinguished woman.
The U.S. had maintained presence in East Asia to safeguard American interests during periods of unrest. Asian and Pacific Islanders served aboard Union vessels during the Civil War. The conclusion of the war with Spain in 1899 resulted in the U.S. taking control of Spanish in the Pacific including the Philippines, prompting the service of many Filipinos and other Pacific Islanders.
For non-military presentations, visit the official website for Asian and Pacific American History Month.
April 10, 1971
USS Marvin G. Shields (DE 1066, later reclassified to FF 1066) was commissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard with Cmdr. William J. Hunter in command and later assigned to Pacific Cruiser-Destroyer Force in San Diego. It was named for Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields, the first and only Medal of Honor recipient in the Seabee community. Shields gave his life during the Battle of Dong Xoai in June 1965 while assigned to Seabee Team 1104 attached to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces.
On June 10, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum director, Dr. Lara Godbille, will present a lecture on the events of the Battle of Dong Xoai, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the those events. The evening event will begin at 6:30p.m. Be sure to mark your calendars to attend this special event as we honor the life of one who embodied the “Can Do” spirit of the Seabees.
Here are some general specs, courtesy of the Naval Vessel Registry:
Number in Class: 46
Displacement: 3020 tons (std), 4065 tons (full)
Length: 415′ (wl), 438′ (oa)
Beam: 46′ 9″ (extreme)
Draft: 24′ 9″ (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 Combustion Engineering 1200psi boilers; 1 Westinghouse geared turbine; 35,000 shp; 1 shaft
Speed: 27 kts
Range: 4,500 nm @ 20 knots
Complement: 20 Officer / 255 Enlisted
Missiles: 1 8-tube Mk25 Sea Sparrow BPDMS in DE 1052-1069, 1071-1083, 1 8-tube Mk29 NATO Sea Sparrow IPDMS in DE 1070, Harpoon missiles from modified ASROC launcher
Guns: 1 x 5″/54 cal. DP Mk 42 (600 rds)
ASW Weapons: 1 Mk16 ASROC launcher (16 missiles), 4-12.75″ (324mm) Mk 32 (4×1 fixed) tubes / Mk 46 torpedos (6)
Radars: AN/SPS-10 (surface), AN/SPS-40 (air), AN/SPS-58 threat warning in some ships
Sonars: AN/SQS-26CX, AN/SQS-35 IVDS in FF-1052, 1056, 1063-1071, 1073-1076, 1078-1097
Fire Control Systems: Mk68 Mod. 11/13/14 Gun FCS, Mk114 Mod 14/16 ASW FCS
Helicopter: 1 – SH-2 LAMPS Helicopter
Awards & Citations
U.S. Navy Seabee Museum patrons are invited to a special tour event, “The Seabee Attic: Behind the Scenes of the USNSM Collection,” where they will get an extended glimpse of the archive facility April 4 with the first tour beginning at 12 p.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m.
Museum curators Kim Crowell and Robyn King will take visitors into the archive facility to view the vast collection of documents and artifacts not currently displayed on the museum floor.
Tours will be limited to approximately 15 people per tour. Those interested are instructed to contact the museum’s front desk to reserve a spot at (805) 982-5165.
“One of the unique aspects of our archive is that it has been built and maintained alongside the history of the Seabees,” Crowell explained. “This provides us with a vast amount of historical material and enables the museum to display a more accurate portrayal of the sacrifices, combat construction and humanitarian efforts of the Seabees and Civil Engineer Corps (CEC).”
The tour event is part of the monthly free public education program that launched in February which presents a variety of topics to include Seabee history and museum operations. Dr. Lara Godbille, museum director, explained the collection storage facility tour is way of showing the community how much work goes into maintaining the collection.
“The collection is the core of the museum,” said Godbille. “Only a small percentage of that collection is available for display, so an opportunity like this gives people the chance to see the breadth of material we have on hand that tells the story of the Seabees and CEC. This extends our commitment to those communities to share with them how we honor and preserve the material that documents their hard work and countless accomplishments.”
The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum works to select, collect, preserve and display historic material relating to the history of the Naval Construction Force, better known as the Seabees, and the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps. The second oldest of the official Navy museums, the Seabee Museum was established in 1947 in Port Hueneme, California, which today is part of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC).