History of the 93rd Seabees


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In March 1943, hundreds of men from across the country began arriving at Camp Peary, a newly created Navy boot camp near Williamsburg, VA. By and large older than the usual crew of enlistees, many of these men came from careers in the building and construction trades. They had left wives, children, and even some grandchildren to volunteer their skills for the war effort. And unlike most military neophytes, they spent almost as much time building up their base as training for war.

By the end of "boot camp," they had become the 93rd Naval Construction Battalion and were prepared to continue their military training at Camp Endicott, Davisville, RI where they arrived on May 15, 1943.

In July, they boarded three cross-country trains for California. They regrouped temporarily at Camp Parks near San Francisco awaiting space in the Seabees "Headquarters" at Hueneme. On Aug. 9, the Battalion moved to Hueneme’s Camp Rousseu and a stint at Splinter City. They were issued construction equipment and began to organize into teams to practice rapid landings, clearing, and construction. The 93rd also had some choice civilian assignments: for the Hollywood Guild Canteen and Naval Aid Auxilliary’s Shore Station.

On Oct. 14, 1943, they boarded the Perida, bound for what they only knew as Island X in the Pacific. Nearly 2 years after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese still dominated the island chains of the Pacific almost to Australia and New Zealand. The 93rd arrived at Banika in the Russell Islands on Nov. 10, 1943. Banika had been captured by the Allies in February and earlier Seabees had created a base and airstrip within view of Guadalcanal.

In February 1944, a huge contingent of U.S. and New Zealand forces aimed northward for a beachhead in the Green Islands, just above Bougainville. The 93rd Seabees rode bulldozers into the dense brush, providing cover for the New Zealand infantry. They then swung into action to complete two airstrips in less than 3 weeks. 

On Oct. 25, most of the 93rd left Nissan on the Cape Johnson, headed into the fierce fighting to liberate the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. On Nov. 15, they began a futile effort to transform a swamp near San Antonio, Samar into an air base. By the first of the year, the entire Battalion had been transferred to Guiuan where they created a large base. Most of the Battalion returned to the US in October and November 1945, one contingent being transported on the Arthur Middleton.

Click this link for a longer history of the 93rd Seabees.

Contact Information

Webmaster Susan Conner
Electronic mail General Information: susanconner@seabees93.net