|Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE|
|Active||15 March 1942–present|
|Part of||1st Naval Construction Group|
|Homeport||Port Hueneme California|
|Engagements||World War II|
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|CDR Jonathan Nieman|
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE (NMCB 3) is a United States Navy Seabee that was one of the three original Construction Battalions authorized to be formed in 1942. Naval Construction Battalion 3 deployed to the South Pacific and was decommissioned mid-1944. In 1950 the battalion was reactivated and today is home-ported at Port Hueneme, California.
WWII, CB 3
In December 1941, Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of BuDocks, recommended establishing Navy Construction Battalions and on the 28th requested authority to carry this out. On 5 January 1942, he got the go-ahead from the Navy's Bureau of Navigation to recruit construction tradesmen for three Naval Construction Battalions. When those three Battalions were formed the Seabees did not have a base of their own yet. So, upon leaving Navy boot, those men were sent to National Youth Administration camps in Illinois, New Jersey, New York or Virginia to receive military training from the Marine Corps. Around 18 May 1942 the 3rd began arriving at the "newly" opened Camp Rousseau as the first CB at Port Hueneme. Beginning in the summer of 1942, the 3rd NCB was deployed not as a unit, but as a group of autonomous detachments. A Company sailed for Bora Bora, B Company to Noumea, New Caledonia and C & D Companies went to Fiji. . Over the next two years a number of smaller detachments were sent to islands in both the Samoan and Fijian groups. In 1944, the battalion was reformed in New Caledonia and departed Noumea on 22 May to return to Camp Parks, California where on 12 July it was ordered disbanded and then subsequently decommissioned on 16 August 1944.
Korean Era, MCB 3
The Battalion was re-activated as MCB 3 on 15 July 1950 at Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, California. Following its recommissioning on 5 November 1950, MCB 3 worked briefly at Amchitka, Alaska.
On October 2nd 1951, the battalion arrived in the Philippine Islands where it spent the next 51⁄2 years building Naval Air Station, Cubi Point. The first problem encountered was moving the fishing village of Banicain, which occupied a portion of the site for the new airfield. The town and its residents were moved to Olongapo, which became New Banicain. The former village site is now under 45 feet (14 m) of earth. The next, and biggest, issue was cutting a mountain in half and moving the material to fill in Subic Bay to create a 10,000 feet (3,000��m) long runway. CBs 2, 3, 5, 9 & 11 all blasted coral to fill a section of the bay as well as adjoining swampland. They removed trees as large as 150 feet (46 m) tall and 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) in diameter from the construction site. It was one of the largest earthmoving projects in the world, equivalent to the building of the Panama Canal. The construction took five years and an estimated 20 million man-hours. The $100 million facility was commissioned on July 25, 1956 and comprised an air station and an adjacent pier that was capable of docking the Navy's largest carriers. Adjusted for inflation the cost in todays dollars would be roughly $934,229,168.10.
The following four years were spent on Okinawa, Japan constructing Marine Corps Air Facility Futenma. The Battalion's next major construction job was an airstrip at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, after which MCB 3 served on Okinawa and Guam.
Vietnam War, NMCB- 3
In May 1965 NMCB 3 made its first of three visits to Da Nang, Vietnam constructing more than 500 facilities for the Marine Corps. NMCB 3's second and third tours in Vietnam took them to Chu Lai and Gia Le. In 1966 NMCB- 3 received their First Battle "E", and while in Chu Lai, the Battalion was named Pacific Fleet "Best of Type" on 11 September 1966 by Rear Admiral W. M. Heaman, Commander Construction Battalions. During this period, a third revision occurred to the unit's name: Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three (NMCB- 3).
In the summer of 1967, NMCB 3 Deployed to Phu Bai to support projects for the Third Marine Division. This began with improvements to the air facility at MAG (Marine Air Group) 36. Following that was the development of a complete rock quarry, north of Phu Bai. Part of the battalion started construction of Camp Eagle in support of the 101st Airborne, while others built a 5000,000 gallon P.O.L. facility on Tan My island, east of the Imperial City of Hue. During this deployment an urgent airfield was needed at Quảng Trị. Battalions CBs 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 74, 121, and 133 all sent detachments of men and equipment to get the job done. Those detachments dubbed themselves the "Ghost Battalion" and chose the Jolly Roger for the Battalion's colors. At the same time NMCB- 3 built up a complete combat base surrounding their own camp. This became Gia Le combat base. It was finished just in time to withstand the 1968 Tet Offensive and the Battle of Hue City. NMCB- 8 relieved NMCB- 3 in January 1968 and while deployed with the Marines in Gia Le, assisted their adjacent units with all types of construction, along with general engineering support as well as mortar support. This effort earned the "Better than Best" a Presidential Unit Citation from President Richard Nixon upon their return to the States.
In July 1968, NMCB 3 again deployed to Da Nang, Vietnam. They were first assigned to Camp Faulkner, to the south of the city, near Marble Mountain and next to the NSA (Naval Support Activity) Hospital. The battalion worked on "Igloo" bunkers at ASP-1 (Ammo Supply Point). NMCB 3 then became the first Seabee battalion to relocate while deployed to Vietnam when they moved north of the city to Camp Haskins South on Red Beach. While stationed at their new camp, NMCB 3 worked on building the NSA Bridge Cargo Ramp east of Da Nang city, to allow the offloading of LSTs. They also replaced the runway and turn-arounds with new matting at the An Hoa Marine combat base, made road improvements on highway 1 in the Hải Vân Pass, north of Da Nang and built the "Golden Gate Bridge" to replace the "Liberty Bridge", which had been destroyed several times, on "Liberty Road" between Da Nang and An Hoa.
After preparing for a 5th deployment to Vietnam in August 1969, the battalion orders were changed and NMCB 3 was deployed to Camp Kinzer (present day Camp Shields), Okinawa. While at Camp Kinzer, the battalion made numerous improvements to the camp itself, including the construction of a new subsistence building, barracks and roads. NMCB 3 also conducted major excavating projects at Marine Corp Air Station Futenma, which included baseball fields and a stadium.
In October 1970, NMCB 3 again deployed to Camp Haskins South, on route one, north of Da Nang for a 5th deployment to Vietnam.
Cold War, NMCB 3
In November 1971 NMCB 3 was deployed to Guam to start construction of a new Seabee camp. The Battalion lived up to its "Better Than Best" motto by constructing enough permanent facilities to have the dedication of Camp Covington on 4 May 1972.
In October 1971, MCB-3 advance party arrived in Guam, equipment operators and builders were detached to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam under direction of Admiral Morrison, COMNAVMAR by the request of the Commander of Andersen Air Force Base; to build 76 B-52 pads in support of the Vietnam War. Working 24/7 mission was completed in six months.
The Battalion was deployed to Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico early in 1974 to construct barracks and other improvements around the base.
In February 1975 the Battalion deployed to Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean. NMCB 3 contributed to the massive construction effort undertaken by the Naval Construction Force.
NMCB 3 was named "Best of Type" in 1976 and winner of the Peltier Award for providing emergency repairs for all military commands while continuing its normal construction projects throughout the Marinas Islands in the aftermath of Super-Typhoon Pamela.
From April 1977 to August 1982, the Battalion divided into two "teams" (Blue and Gold) which rotated between Port Hueneme and Camp Shields, Okinawa. The Battalion was named "Best of Type" and awarded the Battle "E" in 1978, 1980 and 1981.
Upon returning to homeport, which completed their third deployment of the "Split Concept" in January 1980, NMCB 3's Blue Team was quickly deployed to nearby NAWC Point Mugu, where they played a major role in the flood disaster recovery efforts.
The following homeport of 1981, NMCB 3's Iwakuni Det Blue 4 were assigned to "Project Rimstone" as the night crew, (subsidizing the 31st NCR), located in Santa Barbara, the Det commuted nightly, 140 miles (230 km) from CBC Pt Hueneme, to President Ronald Reagan's ranch. Completing the project on time, the Seabees of this detail received Presidential letters of Commendation, Presented by J.M. Dougherty Commanding Officer of NMCB 3, on 22 October 1982.
In March 1983 the reunited Battalion deployed for the first time to Camp Mitchell, Naval Station Rota, Spain where it was again named "Best of Type" in the Pacific Fleet. In 1986 NMCB THREE deployed to Guadal Canal to add to clean-up in Cyclone Namu where they received the Peltier award along with the Humanitarian service medal for their services.
From 1983 to 1989 the Battalion made routine deployments to the European and Pacific Theaters and was named "Best of Type" in the Pacific Fleet for FY 1987.
In October 1989, while completing a homeport field exercise, the Battalion deployed its Air Detachment from Fort Hunter Liggett, California, to the San Francisco Bay area to provide earthquake recovery assistance. The Air Detachment personnel repaired severely damaged utilities at Naval Air Station Alameda and Naval Station Treasure Island.
In January 1990, NMCB 3 returned to Rota. The Air Detachment was dispatched for disaster recovery operations in North Africa where they repaired flood-damaged rail lines, significantly aiding in Tunisia's economic recovery.
In March 1991, NMCB 3 deployed to Guam and provided Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with Typhoon Owen disaster recovery assistance in Yap. NMCB 3 also cleared runways and repaired utilities at Naval Air Station Cubi Point in support of Operation "Fiery Vigil" following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
NMCB 3 returned to Guam in July 1993, sending a Civil Action Team to Palau and a short-term detail to Saipan to help make preparations for the 50th Anniversary of World War II. Again, the disaster recovery specialists repaired facilities, utilities and schools following the worst earthquake to shake Guam in more than a century, measuring 8.2 on the Richter Scale.
In September 1994, NMCB 3 embarked upon a 14-country, four-continent deployment. Seabees supported the United Nations protection force operation "Provide Promise" by maintaining the U.S. Hospital at Zagreb, Croatia as well as installing surveillance equipment in Baghdad, Iraq.
In November 1995, NMCB 3 deployed details to stateside U.S. military installations for the first time and ended a chapter in Seabee history of Seabee occupation of Diego Garcia.
In January 1997, the Battalion's main body returned to Camp Mitchell, Rota, Spain. NMCB 3 Bees broke new ground in two Baltic locations new to Seabees, Estonia and Uzbekistan, where they provided construction support during "Operation Baltic Castle" and a U.S. Humanitarian Aid Program (HAP) "Operation Provide Hope."
On 23 April 1998, NMCB 3 participated in the exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT '98). This was a first-time participation for Seabees in a combined fleet and multi-national exercise of this type.
In Rayong, Thailand, NMCB 3 completed the construction of a second story addition to the Camillian Social Center. The center provides a place for Aids victims during their last days. The Battalion had the opportunity to show exactly how mobile they are when they received a call to action in 1998. A modified Air Detachment quickly deployed to Nairobi, Kenya, in support of "Operation Resolute Response." The detachment assisted in disaster relief efforts, structural repair and the recovery of evidence and classified material following the U.S. embassy bombing.
On 15 May 1999, NMCB 3 headed to Rota, Spain where shortly after arriving on station, the Battalion was called into action in support of Joint Task Force, "Shining Hope." NMCB 3 repaired roads in Northern Albania that were weakened by the steady flow of more than 800,000 Albanian refugees from Kosovo and years of neglect.
Shortly after Detachment Albania left, the mission changed and the Battalion sent an advanced party of 43 personnel into Kosovo. Within two weeks, the battalion integrated Detail Albanian's 150 personnel with an additional 184 Seabees from Camp Mitchell. The mission was to build 64 Davidson style Southeast Asia Huts (SEAhuts) in 90 days for an Army base camp at Camp Monteith, Gnjilane, Kosovo. Maintaining 24-hour operations for nearly two months, THREE stayed on schedule and completed the initial tasking in 89 days. By the time the Battalion departed for homeport in December 1999, they had built more than 80 SEAhuts and constructed more than 40 acres (16 ha) of hardstand.
In December 1999, the Battalion returned home after a successful deployment that once again earned them the title "Best of Type" in the Pacific Fleet and earning the right to wear the coveted Battle "E". They were also awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Medal for their work during the 1999 Pacific Deployment.
In July 2000 the Battalion packed up and headed to Guam for their 2000 Pacific Deployment. The Battalion immediately sent out two Detachments for Training.
The first DFT went to Seychelles to dismantle three ray domes. The second went to Indonesia to build a road and repair a schoolhouse. Both of the detachments returned to main body without injury or incident on schedule, having successfully completed the tasking amongst high praise.
Shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001, NMCB 3 deployed to sites across three continents, including the main body in Rota, Spain; details in Thurmont, MD; Tidewater, VA; Naples; Sigonella; Souda Bay; and DFTs to the Republic of Georgia; Stuttgart, Germany; and Gabon, Africa.
With Camp Mitchell in Force Protection Condition Delta for the first time since the Gulf War, THREE deployed an Air Detachment in December 2001 to support Operation Enduring Freedom by constructing 130 Al Qaeda detention cells at Camp X-ray. The Det also constructed 65 SEAhuts for JTF 160 security forces and cleared enough land to construct a 160-bed Fleet Hospital.
In December 2002, NMCB 3 deployed to Camp Shields in Okinawa, Japan, as well as 14 other sites across the pacific and Southwest Asia. Despite changes in deployment schedules and preparations for "Operation Enduring Freedom" and later with "Operation Iraqi Freedom," NMCB 3 kept pace and met all of their operational goals.
After returning from the Okinawa deployment NMCB 3 was again tasked with providing support for both "Operation Enduring Freedom" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom II". In April 2004, the battalion started their Pacific deployment. THREE had the lead role in Task Force Sierra, a construction task force in support of several joint special operations commands. Detachments in support of OEF were in both the CENTCOM AO and the PACOM AO. In all, NMCB 3 had personnel on the ground at 36 different locations around the world, including two main body sites (Guam and Iraq) and eight other primary detail/detachment sites.
In July 2005, THREE deployed to Iraq with a total of nine Iraq detachments, as well as detachments in Horn of Africa; Souda Bay, Greece; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Andros Island, Bahamas; Rota, Spain; Kingdom of Bahrain; Seychelles Islands. NMCB 3 was the only Seabee battalion to ever be tasked to operate six Convoy Security Teams (CST) continuously, while providing over 11,000-man days of construction support to the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF). NMCB 3'S CSTs safely executed more than 130 successful convoy missions, escorting more than 2,200 vehicles more than 21,500 miles (34,600 km) through the dangerous streets of Iraq, resulting in 17 combat action ribbon awards.
In November 2005, NMCB THREE turned over with NMCB 133 in Fallujah, Iraq and redeployed to Kuwait to set up main body operations in Kuwait to support of Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and Area Support Group, Kuwait. NMCB 3 established the new Main Body deployment site from scratch while integrating over 145 personnel from NMCB 21 and 139 personnel from the Army's 63rd Construction Support Element. NMCB 3 worked with the Army to develop a master plan for what would become a Seabee main body deployment site for almost five years. Prior to returning home in February 2006, NMCB 3 completed over 20,000-man days of tasking and 58 tasked projects in direct support of the CFLCC mission.
In December 2006, NMCB 3 deployed to the Far East. With the main body group located at Camp Shields, Okinawa, the battalion also sent out detachments to Atsugi, Iwakuni, Sasebo, Fuji and Yokosuka, Japan, Camp Pendleton and San Clemente Island, California, as well as Chinhae, Korea and Diego Garcia. Additionally, the battalion stood up a short-fused detail in Afghanistan to support Special Operations Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. During this deployment, THREE bolstered the Department of Defense's focus on civil military operations by supporting five detachments for training: three in the Republic of the Philippines, one in Korea, and one in Thailand.
In April 2008, NMCB 3 deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, providing support to First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) in Iraq and assuming control of Task Force Sierra for a second time. The Battalion supported I MEF as they pressed the remnants of Al Qaida and prepared the fledgling Iraq Security Forces to take control of that country's defenses. Task Force Sierra again supported the tip of Security Forces to take control of that country's defenses. Task Force Sierra again supported the tip of America's spear as they aimed to kill or capture Al Qaida and Taliban insurgent leaders. In total, NMCB 3 provided over 72,000 mandays of construction in support of OIF and OEF in this deployment.
After an abbreviated homeport, the Battalion became the first Main Body to deploy to Naval Station Rota, Spain since 2005. After relieving NMCB 11 in August they reopened and improved Camp Mitchell and Naval Station Rota infrastructure. Detachments were also sent to Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia to provide humanitarian construction in these emerging Eastern European countries. More than 300 Seabees served throughout Africa, drilling waterwells, renovating schools, training host national militaries and improving the quality of life in Liberia, Cameroon, Djibouti, Kenya, Comoros and Uganda.
From November 2010 to June 2011 NMCB THREE completed a deployment to Afghanistan where they supported US and Coalition forces spread across more than 30 different locations throughout Afghanistan. Key efforts included the completion of 110 tactical infrastructure projects, ranging from combat outpost builds to route construction, in support of I and II MEF, Special Operations Forces, and Task Force Helmand, a British Led Task Force. THREE's efforts contributed to improved counterinsurgency operations.
Most recently, NMCB THREE completed a deployment to Europe and Africa from Feb 2012 to Aug 2012 where they supported combatant commanders in EUCOM and AFRICOM spread across 13 countries in more than 14 sites conducting HCA and ERC construction projects in order to sustain and improve relations with partner countries. The countries that NMCB THREE deployed to include Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Morocco, Togo, Ghana, Liberia.
NMCB THREE is currently deployed to Okinawa, Japan
Awards: unit, campaign, service
NMCB 3 Unit Awards listed at the office of the Chief on Naval Operations 
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Presidential Unit Citation Vietnam 1968
- Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation
- Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Award
- Vietnam Campaign Medal service ribbon with 60– Device : - 3 awards
- Vietnam Service Medal: - 3 awards
- Chief of Naval Operations Letter of Commendation 2001
- Iraq Campaign Medal (2003-2008)
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- Navy "E" Ribbon : – U.S. Atlantic Fleet Battle "E" 10 times.
- Peltier Award: - 3 times.
- Admiral Ben Moreell
- Amphibious Construction Battalion One (ACB-1)
- Amphibious Construction Battalion TWO (ACB-2)
- Civil Engineer Corps United States Navy
- Naval Construction Battalion aka Seabee
- Seabees in World War II
- Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek
- Naval Amphibious Base Coronado
- Naval Construction Battalion Center (Gulfport, Mississippi)
- Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 26
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40
- Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133
- Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, Dept. of the Navy Historical Center, 805 Kidder Breeze SE., Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC 20374, Chapter VI p. 138
- Historic California Posts: When the Navy came to Port Hueneme, Dr. Frank A Blazich, Seabee Museum
- Seabee Unit Histories 
- Inflation Calculator, Morgan Friedman website
- Naval History and Heritage Command, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, The Ghost Battalion 
- US Navy Awards, Chief of Naval Operations, 2000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20350| 
- Battle "E" Peltier Perry Awards, Seabee Museum Archives, Port Hueneme, CA 93043 |
- Seabee onLine Magazine, 1322 Peterson Ave., S.E., Bldg. 33, Suite 1000, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. 20374|
- Facebook NMCB 3
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