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History of the seabees

Success in World War II hinged on the ability of the military to quickly complete ambitious construction projects under dangerous conditions so the U.S. Navy established the military’s first Naval Construction Battalions under the direction of officers from the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps. More than 325,000 Seabees served during World War II. Continuing this proud tradition, the Seabees have provided critical support to American troops in every conflict since then.

The Seabees are construction workers fully trained in defending themselves against enemy attack while building the infrastructure to keep the war effort moving.

The drive and ingenuity of these fighting builders allowed the U.S. military to stay a step ahead of the enemy in both World War II Theaters of Operation and were a key factor in securing victory.

The extraordinary contributions of the Seabees led to them becoming a permanent part of the Navy’s fighting forces, building and fighting in every military conflict since their inception. Since WWII, Seabees have been involved in supporting this country in war and in peace.

Seabees were instrumental in the Korean War, Vietnam War, on Diego Garcia, and in the Philippines where they were responsible for building the air station at Cubi Point. They have also played an important role in the modern day war on terror, providing critical and tactical construction support in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When disaster strikes, Seabees are some of the first on the scene. Relief and recovery efforts include Hurricanes Camille, Andrew, George, Mitch, Katrina, Ivan and Maria. They also provided construction support and disaster relief in the wake of the Haiti earthquake. For the last sixty years, detachments of Seabees have also deployed to third world countries around the globe, improving the lives of people in remote areas.

For 38 years, Seabees worked in Antarctica building and operating facilities for the National Science Foundation. A large group of Seabees have worked around the world for the last half century, supporting the State Department at its embassies and consulates, and Seabees are also responsible for the ongoing maintenance of Camp David, the rustic 125-acre mountain retreat of the President of the United States.

Seabees today deploy all over the world in support of the US Navy, in peacetime and suring war, the Seabees can-do attitude makes them invaluable.  

To learn more about the history of the Seabees, visit US Navy Seabee Museum

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