|United States Naval Mobile Construction
Battalion Eleven (NMCB-11)
Vietnam Deployments: 1965-1969
|17-20 September 1965||
complete on Okinawa, the Battalion headed home on USAF aircraft puddle
jumping across the Pacific Ocean for a touchdown at NAS Point Mugu,
California, a short bus ride from their homeport in Port Hueneme,
|17-20 September 1965||
17 September is
the official date. Arrived at homeport in Port Hueneme, for leave period,
reconstitution and training for the next overseas deployment.
|5 December 1965||
began an intense two-week military training cycle at Camp Pendleton USMC
Base during the homeport period. It was an annual training cycle that would
last until their last deployment to Vietnam in 1969.
|25 January 1966||
the NMCB-11 Advance Party to Danang were injured by shrapnel during a Viet
Cong attack on Camp Adenir. These were the first of over one hundred
Seabees from the Battalion to be injured by enemy fire during the Vietnam
|1-5 February 1966||
completed its homeport training period, Battalion deployed by USAF aircraft
on their first of four consecutive tours in Vietnam, this time to Camp
Adenir, Danang East, Vietnam.
|2-6 February 1966||
February 7 is
the official start date. Battalion arrives on multiple flights in Vietnam
after a brief fueling and staging period at Clark AFB, in the Philippines.
was named after an MCB-9 Seabee, SD2 Restituto P. Adenir, of Cavite City,
Philippines, who was KIA in Danang, Vietnam, on 29 October 1965. Shared the
Camp with Bravo Company, USMC Military Police.
Staffed the Provisional Platoon made up of Seabees from NMCB-11 who patrolled the nearby Vietnamese villages of My Thi and My Khe. Battalion worked on the following projects. Completed expansion of the Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hospital started by NMCB-9 in the Marble Mountain Military Complex: i.e., built an x-ray building, fire station, generator building, several new Quonset-type wards and improved roads, a Helicopter landing pad and parking areas. Other projects included: road system for LAAM site and AFRTS building and tower sites on Monkey Mountain; operated the rock crusher; provided a well-drilling crew; replaced three war damaged sections of the Tourane River Bridge, on Rt. #1 south of Danang; worked on a DeLong Type floating pier; installed huge modular steel-framed buildings at the Covered Storage (CS) and Transportation and Maintenance (T&M) sites; completed the canopy for III MAF Officer’s Club patio; completed the III MAF R&R Center; designed and completed the China Beach R&R Site complete with 480-seat outdoor amphitheater; and worked on other projects too numerous to list.
|1 March 1966||
1106 deployed to Vinh Long, Vietnam.
|15 May 1966||
CDR William L.
Wilson, CEC, USN, relieved CDR Barron as commanding officer, NMCB-11.
|1 June 1966||
Naval Construction Brigade (3rdNCB) commissioned in NMCB-11’s
Camp Adenir, Danang East, Vietnam. RADM Robert R. Wooding, CEC, USN, was
the first Commander 3rd NCB.
|19 June 1966||
Wayne, of “The Fighting Seabees” fame, visited NMCB-11 at Camp Adenir
and helped dedicate the Enlisted Men’s Club – “The Green Shack.”
|4 July 1966||
H. Krulak, USMC, Commanding General, FMFPAC, visited the village of My Thi
where NMCB-11’s “Provisional Platoon” was taking care of business. He was
interested in the Seabees role in Civic Action.
|23 July 1966||
mortar attack on the Marble Mountain Military Complex did damage to the Navy
Hospital, NMCB-11 Camp and the MAG-16 Compound, to mention a few. Light
casual inflicted in the Seabee Camp—five men received shrapnel wounds for
which they received Purple Hearts and several pieces of equipment were
1107 deployed in August to Vin Long, Vietnam.
|7 September 1966||
personnel serving in Vietnam authorized The Republic of Vietnam Campaign
Medal and Ribbon (with silver bar 1960-) for wear. NMCB-11 was included in
the recipients of this medal.
|7 October 1966||
LT H. Michael
Josephson, DC, USNR, accidentally drowned while swimming in the South China
Sea at China Beach, Danang East. Officers and enlisted men of NMCB-11
attended his funeral in October in California.
|9-18 October 1966||
completed their deployment to Camp Adenir, Danang East, Vietnam and returned
by military and commercial charter aircraft to their homeport in Port
|17 October 1966||
GEN Lewis W.
Walt, USMC, Commanding General, III MAF, commended the battalion for timely
completion of the III MAF Officer’s Club Patio that a civilian contractor
said was impossible to do in the timeframe requested.
|18 October 1966||
Battalion had arrived at homeport in Port Hueneme, for leave period,
reconstitution and training under the 31st NCR for the next
overseas deployment. Battalion formed a Precision Seabee Drill Team and
participated in Construction Crew Training (CCT). Battalion used Point Mugu
Rifle Range and Rose Valley off-base military training site prior to
deploying to Camp Pendleton USMC Base for two-weeks of intensive military
and Seabees from CBC and 31st NCR, Port Hueneme, including
NMCB-11, manned a Seabee float in the Rose Bowl Parade.
|1-5 March 1967||
Seabee-Vietnamese village was set up at CBC Port Hueneme to celebrate the 25th
Anniversary of the Seabees and the 100th Anniversary of the Civil
Engineer Corps. SEA huts, POL tanks, timber bridges, well-drilling
equipment, and strongback tents were set up to resemble a Seabee camp in
Vietnam. Seabee Teams—including Seabee Teams 0910, 1010 and 1109—helped set
up the camp as part of their real-life training duties. The 29 Palms U.S.
Marine Corps band performed music. Battalions in homeport participated in a
full-dress Pass in Review (PIR) on the CBC Grinder.
1108 deployed in early April to Bunh Duong, Vietnam. Seabee Team 1108
awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation for service in Vietnam
|25 April 1967||
1109 deployed to Chiang Kham, Thailand.
|26 April 1967||
military training cycle was completed. Battalion deployed by USAF aircraft
to Dong Ha, Vietnam, to begin their second consecutive deployment to the war
zone. Dong Ha was located in the Northern I Corps, about 13 miles from the
DMZ between North and South Vietnam. This was the northernmost site that the
Seabees deployed to in Vietnam. Battalion worked on various projects in
Dong Ha including: construction and support for Ammunition Depot, Dong Ha
Air Base, Seabee Camp, Fleet Logistic Support Unit (FLSU), 500-man messhall,
hospital roads and drainage, twenty-eight (28) 50-foot observation towers,
various Quonset huts, and other USMC-related work in the area. Detachments
(Details) were deployed to Khe Sanh, Cua Viet, Lang Vei and Gio Linh. Enemy
attacks on the Dong Ha Combat Base and battalion detachment were too
numerous to mention on an individual base. A summary of attacks is included
at the end of this deployment schedule.
The NMCB-11 Detail at Gio Linh was at the easternmost edge of the “Barrier” (a belt of terrain 600 yards wide strip of land south of the DMZ where all vegetation was being flattened to prevent infiltration by NVA who kept slipping into the DMZ). Gio Linh was a sandbagged, dug-in, heavily wired and mined outpost within easy sight of the North Vietnamese guards and their red flag on the Ben Hai River. Other Details were at Khe Sanh, at the extreme northwest corner of South Vietnam on the border of Laos, and Lang Vei, five miles closer than Laos.
|4 May 1967||
H. Rivers, USN, lost his life in an accident in Vietnam on 4 May 1967.
|8 May 1967||
deployed a 76-man Detachment to Khe Sanh to construct a 3,900-foot SATS
runway and support facilities. Runway satisfactorily completed 22 June.
|28 May 1967||
service held for EON3 Marvin C. Hill, USN, accidentally electrocuted on
Detachment in Cua Viet on May 25, 1967.
|6 June 1967||
Forward Combat Base underwent heavy rocket attacks. During the fighting
EOCS (Senior Chief) Donald J. Barnes, USN, was KIA. A few months later in
September the Battalion’s camp in Dong Ha was named
in his honor.
CAPT Albert R.
Marshall, CEC, USN, assumed duties of Commander, 3rd NCB, in
Danang, Vietnam, in late June 1967 from RADM Paul E. Seufer, CEC, USN, who
had previously become the Brigade Commander in December 1966.
|20 June 1967||
M. Heaman, CEC, USN, COMCBPAC, visited Battalion camp and project sites in
Dong Ha and Cua Viet.
|24 June 1967||
CN John J. Bailkowski, USN, lost his life in an accident in
Vietnam on 24 June 1967.
|2 July 1967||
ADM Thomas H.
Moorer, USN, Prospective Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) visited the Dong Ha
Combat Base and received a briefing on NMCB-11 construction. He also
visited the Battalion’s detachment at Cua Viet.
|27 July 1967||
CDR William K.
Hartell, CEC, USN, relieved CDR William L. Wilson, CEC, USN, as Commanding
Officer of NMCB-11.
|31 July 1967||
of the Navy approved the Navy Unit Commendation (NUC) for the 30th
Naval Construction Regiment (including NMCB-11) for the period of 1
September 1966 to 31 July 1967. It was presented for “…exceptional
meritorious service in
U.S. Military Forces and the Government of the Republic of Vietnam…”
|20 August 1967||
service held for EOHCN Jon J. Hayden, USN, of Security Co., who was
accidentally killed on 16 August while serving in Security Company.
|28 August 1967||
were KIA during an enemy rocket attack on Camp Barnes. The Seabees who lost
their lives were: BURCN Anthony J. Grasso, BUHCA Richard J. Wagner, BUR2
Jerry L. Newman, and BURCN Jerome D. Patterson.
|3 September 1967||
significant day in Battalion history. Frequent and heavy North
Vietnamese and Viet Cong artillery attacks on the Dong Ha Combat Base
resulted in a massive explosion in the U.S. Military Ammunition Depot which
resulted in an 8-hour period of concussion and shock waves from the fires
A total of 35 Seabees were awarded Purple Hearts as a result of being WIA during that enemy attack on 3 September.
Four men from
the Battalion received Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V” for their action
in combating a fire in the FLSU storage area in Dong Ha after an artillery
attack. Other men received Purple Hearts and Letters of Commendation for
injuries and outstanding performance of duty under fire.
During the Dong Ha deployment, there were 128 enemy attacks on NMCB-11 camps in Dong Ha (98), Khe Sanh (3), Cua Viet (18), Lang Vei (7) and Gio Linh (2) with a total of five Seabees KIA and 52 Seabees WIA. One Seabee was killed in an enemy attack at Khe Sanh on 6 June and four Seabees were killed in an enemy attack at Dong Ha on 28 August There were also 6 road-mining incidents, three ambushes and one land-mine attacks with another 12 Seabees WIA. This deployment featured the most intensive enemy action experienced by any Seabee battalion since World War II. The Seabees of NMCB-11 lived through not only mortar and artillery attacks, but also assaults by Russian-made amphibious tanks at Lang Vei. Members of the CIDG garrison managed to capture two of these enemy tanks near Lang Vei.
|29 Nov - 7 Dec 1967||
construction work complete in Dong Ha, and being relieved by NMCB-5, the
Battalion returned to CONUS on military and commercial aircraft and arrived at NAS Point Mugu for the short bus trip to Port Hueneme. The various prop aircraft
puddle-hopped across the Pacific stopping off for refueling in Midway, Wake
and/or Hawaii on the flights back to CONUS.
1110 deployed to Can Tho and Long Xuyen, Vietnam, in late December 1967.
|1 December 1967||
Officer of NMCB-5 assumed command of Camp Barnes.
|4 December 1967||
aboard NCBC, Port Hueneme, senator V. L. Sturgeon, Aide to the Governor of
California, Gov. Ronald Reagan, accepted custody of a California State Flag
that had been flown over Camp Barnes' berthing areas in Dong Ha during the
|5 December 1967||
ceremonies aboard NCBC, Port Hueneme, the Mayors of Port Hueneme, Oxnard,
Camarillo and Ventura joined with the Commodore in officially "Welcoming
Home" NMCB-11. The Battalion was presented a resolution passed by the City
Council of the City of Oxnard.
|7 December 1967||
The final flight
of NMCB-11 arrived at NAS Point Mugu signifying completion of the
Battalion's 1967 deployment to Dong Ha. The Battalion commenced leave
period, reconstitution and training for the next overseas deployment.
Seabees honed their skills in CBAT Training in Port Hueneme, field exercise
at Rose Hill and once again the two-week military training exercise in Camp
|13 December 1967||
Hartell, CEC, USN, Commanding Officer of NMCB-11, presented a California flag
flown over Camp Barnes in Dong Ha, Vietnam, to then California’s Governor
Ronald W. Reagan. In ceremonies held in front of the California State
Capital in Sacramento, California, the flag was raised at the Capital.
After serving as the official
display flag for two days, the flag was retired to a permanent display in
the rotunda of the State Capital. Following the flag raising ceremony,
Governor Reagan was made an honorary Seabee and member of NMCB Eleven by the
prepares for deployment to Vietnam. Sometime during 1968, the battalion’s
plaque/symbol was changed. The thrown “11 dice” were eliminated, and the new
circular symbol reflected a Seabee sitting on top of an enlarged “11”.
“U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Eleven” was centered and lettered
across the top of the plaque; “U.S. Pacific Fleet” was centered and lettered
across the bottom of the plaque. The words “Constructing the Future” were
shown above the Seabee and below the NMCB-11 words. A wide yellow hawser
(rope) surrounded the circular plaque.
|16 April 1968||
advance party landed in Quang Tri, Vietnam with 7 officers and 112 enlisted
|5 May 1968||
military training cycle was completed. Battalion deployed by USAF C-141
aircraft to the Philippines and shuttled aboard C-118 and C-130 aircraft
from the Philippines to Quang Tri, Vietnam, to begin their third consecutive
deployment to the war zone. Some of their personnel effects and heavier equipment was
sent via ship. One of these ships was the SS Golden State that sailed
on 30 March and arrived 30 April. The other was the USNS Sgt. Miller
that sailed on 2 May and arrived on 1 June.
The last USAF C-130 shuttle aircraft from the Philippines crash landed on the runway in Quang Tri critically injuring seven NMCB-11 Seabees. Fortunately, there were no deaths. Several officers and enlisted men received Navy & Marine Corps, Navy Commendation or Navy Achievement Medals for their heroic actions in response to that crash incident.
Prior to their deployment, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had a “go for broke” campaign across South Vietnam known as the “Tet Offensive.” They simultaneously attacked multiple U.S. and Vietnamese positions throughout the country. NMCB-11 entered country as this action was winding down.
Battalion first lived in a tent-camp pitched in the sand adjacent to Quang Tri airfield. During the first two months, the galley, mess-deck, and scullery were located in six tents with wooden decks. The blowing wind, sand and rain played havoc on the Battalion’s morale as they constructed a new camp on the other side of the airfield. However, a very active recreation program made up for the lack of good facilities and enhanced the morale of the troops. Live entertainment was always welcomed.
|30 May 1968||
1111 deployed first to Bung Kan and later to Thung Song, Thailand, near the
Cambodian border. Seabee Team 1112 deployed first to Chiang Kham and later
to Mae Chan, Thailand, near the Burma border.
|17-30 June 1968||
June 1968, Battalion personnel completed and moved into their new camp. All
shops and offices also moved, except Alpha Company Shops. On June 30, a new
1,000-man galley was completed. During the deployment, the galley supported
between 900 to 1300 personnel depending on the number of assigned
detachments. This was the best camp the Bees had lived in during the first
three deployments to Vietnam. Further improvements were made daily.
Construction work included: “Operation Roadrunner” a 24-hour seven-day-a-week project to accelerate construction of the high-priority Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) at Quang Tri; operating rock-off load ramp and rock crusher site at Cua Viet; Minimum Essential Requirements “MER” project to upgrade camp support for Navy, Army and Marine forces in the Quang Tri Combat area; cantonment for the First Marine Air Wing site in Quang Tri; NMCB-11’s new camp site; the MAC-V Compound in Quang Tri City; support for Bravo Medical galley; support for the Army’s Surgical Unit huts; support for the Army camp at Hill 12; advanced base support for the Army’s First Air Cavalry and the 4th Regiment of the 5th U.S. Army Mechanized Brigade moving into the DMZ to relieve Marines for other support.
MER Project. High Priority. Five details consisting of over 200 Seabees from other deployed Seabee battalions—i.e., 1, 10, 71, 74, and 133—arrived in Quang Tri to assist NMCB-11 with the large high-priority “MER” Construction Project.
Roadwork. High Priority. NMCB-11 worked on bridge and road upgrade work on Vietnam Rt. 1 from Dong Ha to Quang Tri and Rt. 9 from Dong Ha to Cam Lo and west to the Rock Pile leading to Khe Sanh. They joined Seabees from other 11 other battalions involved in making sure Vietnam Route 1 was kept open from Saigon to Dong Ha, just south of the DMZ. The coordinated Seabee roadwork included the following twelve Battalions: NMCB’s 1, 4, 7, 8, 11, 53, 58, 62, 71, 74, 138 and 133.
Seabee teamwork on the MER and highway projects was at its best and emphasized the “One Naval Construction Force” concept in Vietnam
W. Abrams, Jr., USA, succeeded GEN William C. Westmoreland, USA, as
Commander Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MAC-V) with headquarters in
Saigon, Vietnam. RADM Elmo R. Zumwalt, USN, relieved RADM Kenneth L. Veth,
USN, as Commander Naval Forces Vietnam (COMNAVFOR-V).
|18 September 1968||
Seabee camp was named
in honor of LT Joseph Rhodes, CEC, USN, from NMCB-121, who was KIA in
Vietnam in 1967. RADM Ace C. Husband, CEC, USN dedicated the Camp. In
attendance were GEN Hill, CG MAG-39, and CAPT Albion W. Walton, Jr., CEC,
USN, COM 32nd NCR.
construction work complete in Quang Tri, the Battalion returned to CONUS on
USAF C-130 prop aircraft and arrived at NAS Point Mugu for the short bus
trip to Port Hueneme.
|8 December 1968||
NMCB-11 personnel as part of the 32nd NCR were awarded the
Navy Unit Commendation for the periods 1 August to 23 October 1967 and 6
May to 8 December 1968. (One award covers both periods).
homeport in Port Hueneme, for leave period, reconstitution and training for
the next overseas deployment. Whether a 10-week school, On the Job Training
(OJT), Disaster Recovery Training (DRT), Seabee Team Training, Safe Driving,
Specialized Training, weapons training at the Seabee Rifle Range at Point
Mugu, a field exercise at Broom Ranch and the annual two-week evolution at
Camp Pendleton, the men kept quite busy during the homeport period.
Battalion celebrated the 27th anniversary of the Seabees in March
military training cycle was completed. During the end of June 1969 the
Battalion’s families and friends gathered with the Seabees at the Pt. Mugu
Naval Air Station waiting room. With a musical farewell by the CBC band and
encouraged by pretty stewardesses the men began boarding the commercial
aircraft for the long flights to Vietnam, Okinawa and Guam, depending on the
ultimate destination. Some of the men were beginning their fourth
consecutive deployment to Vietnam in the war zone. Seabee Teams 1113 and
1114 were deployed to the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands in June
deployment site began for the Battalion. Battalion arrived in Vietnam and
Okinawa during the last week of June 1969. Four aircraft arrived in Vietnam
and one flight arrived in Okinawa. The battalion relieved NMCB-10 at Camp
Evans, north of Hue, Vietnam. Their own Seabee camp was later named Camp
Haines, in honor of EOC John C. Haines, Jr., of Bordentown, NJ, who was KIA
March 7, 1967 while serving with NMCB-4, in Danang, Vietnam. Battalion later
deployed a large detachment to Guam. About one-third of the battalion was
deployed as a miniature battalion—Detachment Echo—on Okinawa. It was
completely independent and self-sustaining unit with an officer in charge.
|8 July 1969||
1113 deployed to Yap, and Seabee Team 1114 deployed to Majuro, both located
in the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands.
|July – December 1969||
worked on the following projects in Vietnam: roadwork on Rt. One from Phu
Loc to Danang; Bridge 15A (240’ long) on Rt. One; raising fallen sections of
a bridge damaged by Viet Cong crossing the Song Bo River, located five miles
south of Hue; two timber bridges near Hue; reconstruction of a railroad
bridge; operating the rock crusher site named “Bonnie & Clyde” run by Alpha
Company; and other projects in the I-Corps Area. Details were sent to work
at L.Z. Nancy, L.Z. Sally, Song Bo, Phu Loc, Dong Ha, Saigon, Okinawa, Guam,
and other locations. The Battalion numbered some 1100
officers and men, the largest on active duty at that time.
|28 July 1969||
CDR Jack L.
Godsey, CEC, USN, relieved CDR Hartell as commanding officer, NMCB-11.
Shortly after the change of command, it was announced the NMCB-11 would be
returning to Port Hueneme, California, in late November and it would be
decommissioned in December 1969 as part of the Presidents plan to reduce
forces in Vietnam.
|7 August 1969||
Early in the morning of 7 August 1969 at Landing Zone Nancy (L.Z. Nancy), a
U.S. Army Mortar Platoon was firing in support of a security patrol under
fire outside the wire. Sparks from a mortar tube ignited nearby ammunition
stores. Seven Seabees from NMCB-11 raced through darkness in an attempt to
extinguish the flames. They fought the conflagration and prevented it from
spreading. CM1 Milford M. Tognazzini, USN, was KIA by shrapnel from an
exploding armored personnel carrier. Several of his fellow Seabees were WIA.
CM1 Tognazzini was posthumously awarded the Soldier's Medal for heroism, as recommended by U.S. Army military authorities, and a Purple Heart for injuries suffered during the incident.
blasted Okinawa in Mid-August with no loss of life but caused major damage
to infrastructure on Okinawa. Detachment Echo sprang to action on Okinawa to
restore utilities and repair damage to buildings.
|24 September 1969||
Echo worked on various projects in Okinawa. On 22 September they later
split up the Detachment. On 24 September a portion of the Seabees deployed
to Guam to do repair work on the Naval Station’s Bachelor Civilian Quarters,
electrical transmission lines, and other smaller projects.
November 1969, NMCB-11 began returning from Vietnam, Okinawa and Guam, to
their homeport in Port Hueneme, California, to prepare for their
decommissioning. U.S. Army units relieved the Battalion at Camp Haines,
Vietnam. The National Defense Service Medal was awarded to all
eligible military men serving between 1 January 1961 and 14 August 1974.
NMCB-11 was awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation for
service between 1 January to 23 January 1969 and 16 April to 18 November
1969 (one award covered both periods).
|20 December 1969||
NMCB-11 were both decommissioned this date, at CBC, Port Hueneme,
California. This had been NMCB-11’s homeport for a little over 16 years
since 1953. BM1 Theodore “Pappy” Hinson lowered the Battalion’s flag for the
final time on December 15, 1969. It was fitting that he did so since he
concluded four consecutive tours with the Battalion to Vietnam. NMCB-11's CDR
Godsey presented Eleven’s flag to RADM Spencer R. Smith, CEC, USN,
Commander, Construction Battalions, Pacific (COMCBPAC) for the last time.
NMCB’s 5, 8, 10 and 11 passed in review on that solemn occasion as two proud
and heroic Seabee battalions were decommissioned that day. CDR Godsey
departed NMCB-11 and became the Commanding Officer of NMCB-3.
1113 and 1114 that were previously deployed to the Trust Territories of the
Pacific Islands—Yap and Majuro—were transferred to NMCB-3 for operational
control when NMCB-11 was decommissioned in December 1969. They reported to
NMCB-3 in January 1970 when their tours were completed. They were the last
two Seabee teams deployed by NMCB-11.
|20 December 1969||NMCB-11 personnel serving in Vietnam were awarded the following Vietnamese military unit awards for service in Vietnam: Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, Civil Actions Medal, First Class Color, with Palm, for eligible periods of duty between 1 February 1966 and 19 January 1971; and, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, Gallantry Cross Medal, with Palm for eligible periods between 1 April 1967 and 31 November 1969. One award covered all eligible periods for each medal/ribbon. Also, eligible personnel were authorized the Combat Action Ribbon for hazardous deployment work under fire or combat situations on an individual case-by-case basis for service between 1965 and 1969. One award covered all eligible periods. Also, eligible personnel were authorized the Vietnam Service Medal with Fleet Marine Corps Device, for any one of 12 eligible periods of service between 15 March 1962 and 30 April 1970. One bronze campaign or battle star was awarded for each individual period of service. One silver star could be substituted for five individual bronze stars.|