Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133

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Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133
NMCB133Logo.png
NMCB 133 insignia
Active September 17, 1943 – present
Country United States
Branch USN
Homeport Construction Battalion Center Gulfport
Nickname "Runnin' Roos"
Motto "Kangroo Can Do"
Engagements World War II
Vietnam War
Operation Provide Comfort
Gulf War
Operation Joint Endeavor
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Commanders
Current
commander
CDR J. S. Powell

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 is a United States Navy Construction battalion, otherwise known as a Seabee Battalion, based out of Naval Construction Battalion Center (Gulfport, Mississippi).[1]

Early history[edit]

The unit was commissioned on September 17, 1943 as Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) 133. The Kangaroo symbol and "Kangroo Can Do" slogan were chosen as it was to be deployed to Australia, however the first deployment was actually at Naval Air Station, Honolulu.[2]

NCB 133 accompanied the invading forces on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945; with a primary goal of maintaining a constant supply to the forward lines of Marine forces. As soon as the Japanese were driven from their airstrips, the Seabees went to work and in just seven days the northeast-southwest runway had been made operational and was in use by American planes. Over the 26 days the battle for Iwo Jima waged on, NCB 133 endured 245 casualties, including 3 officers and 39 enlisted men killed in action. This was the highest number of casualties for any Seabee unit in history.

Over the next five months that the Battalion spent on Iwo Jima, over 100,000 tons of rock was crushed, over a million cubic yards of earth moved, 5,900 feet (1,800 m) of drainpipe was laid, 4,000 feet (1,200 m) of conduit was installed and 725 cubic yards (554 m3) of concrete was placed. NCB 133 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its part in the Battle of Iwo Jima. In December 1945, following the end of World War II NCB 133 was decommissioned due to the reduced need to maintain Construction Battalions.

On August 12, 1966, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 was commissioned at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi.

NMCB 133 in Vietnam[edit]

Location of
Deployment
Year
Vietnam 1966
Vietnam 1968
Vietnam 1969
Guam 1970
Okinawa 1972
Spain 1972
Okinawa 1974
Diego Garcia 1976
Diego Garcia 1979
Spain 1982
Puerto Rico 1983
Okinawa 1984
Guam 1990
Spain 1991
Iraq 1991
Guam 1992
Spain 1993
Spain/
Yugoslavia
1995
Guam 1997
Afghanistan 2001
Afghanistan/
Iraq
2003
Okinawa 2004
Iraq 2005
Iraq 2007
Okinawa 2008
Afghanistan 2010
Okinawa 2011
Afghanistan 2012

Following a period of training, Vietnam was the site of the newly recommissioned Battalion's initial deployments. During their first deployment to Da Nang, Vietnam in 1966, projects for the Battalion ranged from final construction of a prisoner-of-war camp to building a staging area for significant amounts of stone to be displaced. NMCB 133 received its second Navy Unit Commendation for its enduring support of friendly forces during its deployment to Vietnam.

Phu Bai was the site of the Battalion's second Vietnam deployment in 1968. The major project at Phu Bai was the monumental task of overlaying the Hue-Phu Bai airstrip with over 10,000 individual sheets of matting.

A third deployment was made to Vietnam in 1969. The Runnin' Roo's were based at Camp Wilkinson, about six miles southeast of Hue, the country's ancient imperial capitol. One of the major projects was the reconstruction of a 286-foot length of highway, including a bridge, at Hue, all of which had been badly damaged during the 1968 Tet Offensive. The most extensive project undertaken by the Kangroo Battalion was the upgrade and maintenance of 70 miles of paved highway. Among other projects, they were also tasked with extending 96 culverts and repairing dozens of bridges.

1990s[edit]

In December 1995 the battalion deployed to Bosnia for Operation Joint Endeavor, in support of NATO's Implementation Force. They were awarded the Superior Unit Award.[3]

2005–Present[edit]

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina came through the central Gulf Coast, taking many lives and causing catastrophic damage to the homes and businesses of countless residents. Within a day, the Seabees from battalions of NMCB 1, 7, and 133 rushed out to clear roads so emergency workers could access hard hit areas.

In the ensuing weeks, NMCB 133 provided extensive humanitarian aid around the area, including the critical repair of lift stations, cleaning and repair of government buildings and schools, and the distribution of food, water and clothing to local residents in need.

As these important projects were going on, teams from the battalion were deployed to assist Seabees whose homes were affected by Katrina. In NMCB 133, 118 out of 659 people either lost their homes entirely or had them damaged so badly they were uninhabitable. Those Seabees and their families either sought refuge in warehouses on base or with friends and family.

Only two months later, the Roos were ready to deploy in November 2005. NMCB 133 deployed to numerous sites throughout Southwest Asia, with additional details in Guam and Whidbey Island. In Iraq, the Runnin’ Roos of NMCB 133 supported Marines, Special Operations Forces and Iraqi Security Forces.

The NMCB 133 2007 deployment involved four continents. The Battalion worked in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) building schools in remote villages and making clean water available to locals. A detail assigned to “New Horizons” built schools in rural Belize. NMCB 133 also had a presence in São Tomé, working in cooperation with Underwater Construction Team ONE (UCT 1) to rebuild the only boat launch available to the country’s Coast Guard.

Over the next few years, the Battalion made two separate deployments to Iraq and Okinawa, Japan. NMCB 133's Seabees built the foundation for new buildings on White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa and restored running water to a village in Kemaman district of Malaysia that had not had such a luxury in over three years. A 35-foot wind-powered turbine and solar panel were installed to provide power to the pump.

Following the end of the PACOM tour, the Roos redeployed to Gulfport, MS for a 15-month homeport and training cycle. In March 2010, the Battalion deployed over 600 Seabees from Gulfport to Afghanistan in support of the 30,000 troop surge.

NMCB 133 successfully set up a site on Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Afghanistan which was used as their mainbody site. The site consisted of nothing more than a bed of gravel when they arrived. Within a month, the battalion had a fully operational Seabee camp. They constructed buildings, set up tents, and worked with an adjacent Army unit to supply power.

Among the list of accomplishments completed by NMCB 133's Runnin' Roos, the following were most noteworthy:

  • The drilling of a well over 1,210 feet (370 m) deep that produces approximately 25,000 US gallons (95,000 l; 21,000 imp gal) of water per day.
  • The construction of many Southwest Asia (SWA) Huts over many locations throughout Afghanistan.
  • Construction and electrical distribution to many living quarters, shower units, and dining facilities.
  • Significant perimeter expansion of four forward operating bases.
  • Construction of numerous crow's nest observation towers.
  • The construction/expansion of 3 helicopter landing pads.

In October 2010, NMCB 133 received the Atlantic Fleet Best of Type Battle "E" award for its outstanding efforts during the CENTCOM deployment.

In March 2011, the battalion once again deployed to Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan where it was involved in many projects, including the renovation of a new galley facility, the construction of a 207 square meter concrete storage building at White Beach Naval Facility, installation of concrete drainage ditches, and camp improvement projects on Camp Shields.

In September 2012, NMCB 133 deployed to Afghanistan to become the last active duty battalion to deploy to the country. During the course of this deployment, the battalion twice broke the record for the longest convoy in the Naval Construction Force's history.

Personnel from NMCB 133 plus a bulldozer arrived in Liberia from Djibouti and on 27 September 2014 began site preparation near the Monrovia airport for construction of a dozen or more hospitals to be built by the U.S. military's Operation United Assistance in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.[4]

Awards[edit]

NMCB 133 has received several unit citations and commendations. Members who participated in actions that merited the award are authorized to wear the medal or ribbon associated with the award on their uniform. NMCB 133 has been presented the following awards:

NMCB 133 has been the recipient of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Force Best of Type Battle "E" a total of 11 times.[5] The battalion has received the Peltier Award, given to the best active duty Seabee Battalion in the Naval Construction Force, on ten occasions.[6]

List of commanding officers[edit]

Commanding Officer Period
Commander Raymond P. Murphy Jan 1944 – Sep 1945
Lt. George R. Imboden Oct 1945 – Nov 1945
Lt. Commander Clarence W. Palmer Sep 1945 – Oct 1945
Lt. Thomas P. Cooke Nov 1945 – Dec 1945
Commander Edward H. Marsh, II Aug 1966 – Jul 1968
Commander Frank H. Lewis, Jr. Jul 1968 – Nov 1969
Commander J. J. Gawarkiewiez, III Nov 1969 – Mar 1971
Commander William C. Conner Mar 1971 – Aug 1973
Commander Leland R. Dobler Aug 1973 – Apr 1974
Lt. Commander Bruce L. McCall Apr 1974 – Jun 1974
Commander Richard A. Lowery Jun 1974 – Jul 1976
Commander Gene Davis Jul 1976 – Jul 1978
Commander George D. Fraunces Jul 1978 – Oct 1979
Captain Herbert H. Lewis, Jr. Oct 1979 – Jul 1981
Captain Dorwin C. Black Jul 1981 – Jun 1983
Captain A. A. Kannegiesser Jun 1983 – Aug 1985
Captain Richard E. Brown Aug 1985 – Jun 1987
Commander Bruce St. Peter Jun 1987 – Aug 1989
Commander Donald B. Hutchins Aug 1989 – Sep 1991
Commander Douglas F. Elznic Sep 1991 – Jun 1993
Commander Richard J. McAfee Jun 1993 – Apr 1995
Commander Gary A. Engle Apr 1995 – Jun 1997
Commander Paul Bosco Jun 1997 – Jun 1999
Commander Katherine L. Gregory Jun 1999 – Jul 2001
Commander Douglas G. Morton Jul 2001 – Jun 2003
Commander Jeffery T. Borowy Jun 2003 – May 2005
Commander Allan M. Stratman May 2005 – May 2007
Commander Paul J. Odenthal May 2007 – June 2009
Commander Chris M. Kurgan Jun 2009 – May 2011
Commander Nick D. Yamodis May 2011 – June 2013
Commander Jeffrey S. Powell June 2013 – Present

References[edit]

External links[edit]