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I was assigned to the base in summer of '57. I was rated as CN, Draftsman. We were living in tents at the time and I was assigned to gate guard, which leads me to address the sign at the main gate. I was later assigned to run the paint shop as there was no need for draftsmen. The carpenter shop
(Amos MacCreary and others I can't remember) built the sign by first carving US NAVAL FACILITY. I painted the sign and hand lettered: Barbados, BWI. I designed the 2 anchors and the shop carved them.

I was later sent to Grand Turks with MCB7.

Re: Seabees


Interesting post. You had duty at one of the most desirable Islands (Barbados)
and then one of the least desirable (turks,)

but, I don't recall anyone saying that they didn't enjoy GTI. It was the people that made the duty assignment and in my opinion, some of the best people in the world passed thru the system and a lot of them served on Grand Turks.

Thanks for your interesting post.


Re: Seabees

Seabees can do! Spent many tours working closely with the bees. Anytime I needed something they always had my back. Best ever was Bermuda post hurricane when they gave me a 10-ton dump truck to use for hauling cut trees. Great reaction from the troops to see the CMC driving this thing. You're right about Turks John. I spent my year there and I think it was the most pivotal tour of my career. It gave me a great bargaining chip and it was a decent tour to boot.

Re: Seabees

Interesting post and thanks for doing your part to get our system off the ground!

Re: Seabees

Well some of us started out as Seabees and ended up becoming OTs. My first duty station was NSA DaNang. I was a CM working in the Triangle Heavy Shop. When I got back to the States I was sent to Long Beach Navy Base. When my orders came in the PN said you are going to Argentina. I said are you sure. Anyway, I went to the base library to find out more about Argentina. We didn't have Google in those days. I discovered I was going to Argentia Newfoundland. The encyclopedia said it was great fishing and hunting. That sounded good to me. I ended up working in the generators. I decided that whatever was happening in the T-Building was something I wanted to do. I couldn't cross rate at the time, so pull two deployments with NMCB 3. When I left the battalion, I told the detailer I wanted any NAVFAC anywhere. He sent me to Nantucket, Mass. I cross rated there and as they say that's the rest of the story. I was stationed in Arg from 70-72 and again from 88-92. I ended up retiring up there as well.

Re: Seabees

Yo Sandy,

And I can say without reservation that you were good at both your jobs!


Re: Seabees

Sandy, I remember you well during those days. I can’t remember his name but there was a Chief or senior chief Bos’n that worked
out there. I was sent out there to get a Pracfac signed off for E3, which was field stripping a .45 cal pistol and was told he would just sign off on it. In I go and he’s sitting at a desk with several CB’s around him. When I told him why I was there he grinned and pulled a 45 out of a desk drawer and plopped it down in front of me. They all grinned and I turned very red. I told Master
Chief Carpenter what happened and he got very PO’d and took my Pracfac sheet out there and came back with it signed off :)
Humility is a big part of growing up!

Re: Seabees

Seabees were always an important part of our system - especially the down-range locations. Let's face it - while the OT's, RM's and ET's did the glitzy operations stuff, it was the Seabees that kept the NAV FAC's open and functioning. Following Hurricane Betsy in Sep 65, a detachment of Seabees arrived to repair building damage. Every roof on base had been damaged - some severely. The visiting "Bee's" worked on the roofs all day - sunrise to sunset, and closed the club at night. The next morning, at the crack of dawn, they were back up on the roof. Late one morning, one of the guys accidentally "backed off" the edge of a one-story roof, and after some attention by our corpsman, he was back on the roof after lunch. Those guys rock! Some of you will remember that in the Spring of 77 at Kef, it was some of the Seabees who came in to swab the displayroom deck because all of the OT's were too busy for field day, and the "Bee's" wanted to contribute in any way they could.

Re: Seabees

1970, NAVFAC Cooshead, SeaBees we’re responsible for building a pond in front of the Admin building, by order of the CO, after discovering a couple of domesticated geese from a Coos Bay city park showed up on base one morning. Alcohol may have been involved the night before.

Re: Seabees

1969 and forward - "Seabees" Augment the watch at NavFac Centerville Beach.

(From "Our Book").

To help augment the watch during hi-temp ops, the Seabees (normally referred to as "upper base" personnel throughout the system due to the T Bldg being "lower" near the water.) were cleared, trained, and would stand watch with us as plotters, DAC operators, message handlers (and they especially enjoyed learning to read the grams) etc.. There were normally 2 or 3 assigned to a watch section and when the word went out to augment they would report to the watch ready to go…

"This they did with great pride and professionalism." “They were - fired up"…

It was also a great morale booster to have the Ops and PW personnel share in this important endeavor. They used to ask me, "Do you need us - do you need us???"
(Ed Smock STCM Centerville Beach 1968-1971)