|Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133|
NMCB 133 insignia
|Active||September 17, 1943 – present|
|Homeport||Construction Battalion Center Gulfport|
|Motto(s)||"Kangroo Can Do"|
World War II|
Operation Provide Comfort
Operation Joint Endeavor
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|CDR J. S. Powell|
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 is a United States Navy Construction battalion, otherwise known as a Seabee Battalion, based out of Naval Construction Battalion Center (Gulfport, Mississippi).
The unit was commissioned on September 17, 1943 as Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) 133. The Kangaroo symbol and "Kangroo Can Do" slogan were chosen as it was to be deployed Australia, however the first deployment was actually at Naval Air Station, Honolulu.
NCB 133 accompanied the invading forces on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945; with a primary goal of maintaining a constant supply to the forward lines of Marine forces. As soon as the Japanese were driven from their airstrips, the Seabees went to work and in just seven days the northeast-southwest runway had been made operational and was in use by American planes. Over the 26 days the battle for Iwo Jima waged on, NCB 133 endured 245 casualties, including 3 officers and 39 enlisted men killed in action. This was the highest number of casualties for any Seabee unit in history.
Over the next five months that the Battalion spent on Iwo Jima, over 100,000 tons of rock was crushed, over a million cubic yards of earth moved, 5,900 feet of drainpipe was laid, 4,000 feet of conduit was installed and 725 cubic yards of concrete was placed. NCB 133 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its part in the Battle of Iwo Jima. In December 1945, following the end of World War II NCB 133 was decommissioned due to the reduced need to maintain Construction Battalions.
On August 12, 1966, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 was commissioned at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi.
NMCB 133 in Vietnam
Following a period of training, Vietnam was the site of the newly recommissioned Battalion's initial deployments. During their first deployment to Da Nang, Vietnam in 1966, projects for the Battalion ranged from final construction of a prisoner-of-war camp to building a staging area for significant amounts of stone to be displaced. NMCB 133 received its second Navy Unit Commendation for its enduring support of friendly forces during its deployment to Vietnam.
Phu Bai was the site of the Battalion's second Vietnam deployment in 1968. The major project at Phu Bai was the monumental task of overlaying the Hue-Phu Bai airstrip with over 10,000 individual sheets of matting.
A third deployment was made to Vietnam in 1969. The Runnin' Roo's were based at Camp Wilkinson, about six miles southeast of Hue, the country's ancient imperial capitol. One of the major projects was the reconstruction of a 286-foot length of highway, including a bridge, at Hue. All of which had been badly damaged during the 1968 Tet Offensive. The most extensive project undertaken by the Kangroo Battalion was the upgrade and maintenance of 70 miles of paved highway. Among other projects, they were also tasked with extending 96 culverts and repairing dozens of bridges.
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina came through the central Gulf Coast, taking many lives and causing catastrophic damage to the homes and businesses of countless residents. Within a day, the Seabees from Battalions of NMCB 1, 7, and 133 rushed out to clear roads so emergency workers could access hard hit areas.
In the ensuing weeks, 133 provided extensive humanitarian aid around the area including the critical repair of lift stations, cleaning and repair of government buildings and schools and the distribution of food, water and clothing to local residents in need.
As these important projects were going on, teams from the Battalion were deployed to assist Seabees who were affected by Katrina. In NMCB 133, 118 out of 659 people either lost their homes entirely or had them damaged so badly they were unliveable. Those Seabees and their families either sought refuge in warehouses on base or with friends and family.
Only two months later, the Roo's were ready to deploy in November 2005. NMCB 133 deployed to numerous sites throughout Southwest Asia, with additional details in Guam and Whidbey Island. In Iraq, the Runnin’ Roo's of NMCB 133 supported Marines, Special Operating Forces and Iraqi Security Forces.
The NMCB 133 2007 deployment, covered four continents. The Battalion worked in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) building schools in remote villages and making clean water available to locals. A detail assigned to “New Horizons” built schools in rural Belize. NMCB 133 also had presence in São Tomé, working in cooperation with Underwater Construction Team ONE (UCT 1) to rebuild the only boat launch available to the country’s Coast Guard.
Over the next few years the Battalion made two separate deployments to Iraq and Okinawa, Japan. NMCB 133's Seabees built the foundation for new buildings on White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, and restored running water to a village in Kemaman, Malaysia that had not had such a luxury in over three years. A 35-foot wind-powered turbine and solar panel were installed to provide power to the pump.
Following the end of the PACOM tour, the Roo's redeployed to Gulfport, MS for a 15 month homeport and training cycle. In March 2010, the Battalion deployed over 600 Seabees from Gulfport to Afghanistan in support of the 30,000 troop surge.
NMCB 133 successfully set up a site on Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Afghanistan which was used as their mainbody site. The site consisted of nothing more than a bed of gravel when they arrived. Within a month the Battalion had a fully operational Seabee Camp. They constructed buildings, set up tents, and worked with an adjacent Army unit to supply power.
Among the list of accomplishments completed by NMCB 133's Runnin' Roo's the following were most noteworthy:
- The drilling of a well over 1,210 feet deep that produces approximately 25,000 gallons of water per day.
- The construction of many Southwest Asia (SWA) Huts over many locations throughout Afghanistan.
- Construction and electrical distribution to many living quarters, shower units, and dining facilities.
- Significant perimeter expansion of four forward operating bases.
- Construction of numerous crow's nest observation towers.
- The construction/expansion of 3 helicopter landing pads.
In October 2010, NMCB 133 received the Atlantic Fleet Best of Type Battle "E" award for its outstanding efforts during the CENTCOM deployment.
In March 2011, the Battalion once again deployed to Camp Shields, Okinawa, Japan where it is was involved in many projects, including the renovation of a new galley facility, the construction of a 207 square meter concrete storage building at White Beach Naval Facility, installation of concrete drainage ditches, and camp improvement projects on Camp Shields.
In September 2012, NMCB 133 deployed to Afghanistan to become the last Active Duty Battalion to deploy to the country. During the course of this deployment the Battalion completed the longest convoy in the Naval Construction Force's history; they would eventually complete an even longer convoy later in their deployment.
During the battalions history in the Naval Construction Force, it has received several unit citations and commendations. Members who participated in actions that merited the award, are authorized to wear the medal or ribbon associated with the award on their uniform. NMCB 133 has been presented the following awards:
- World War II Victory Medal
- Armed Forces Service Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Ribbon
- Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Civil Cactions Medal)
- Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross Medal Color with Palm)
- US Navy Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
- Humanitarian Service Ribbon
- Vietnam Service Ribbon
- Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon
- Navy Expeditionary Ribbon
- Navy Unit Commendation
- Meritorious Unit Commendation
- Battle Efficiency Award
NMCB 133 has been the recipient of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Naval Construction Force Best of Type Battle "E" a total of 11 times. The battalion has received the Peltier Award (given to the best active duty Seabee Battalion in the Naval Construction Force) on ten occasions.
List of commanding officers
|Commander Raymond P. Murphy||Jan 1944 – Sep 1945|
|Lt. George R. Imboden||Oct 1945 – Nov 1945|
|Lt. Commander Clarence W. Palmer||Sep 1945 – Oct 1945|
|Lt. Thomas P. Cooke||Nov 1945 – Dec 1945|
|Commander Edward H. Marsh, II||Aug 1966 – Jul 1968|
|Commander Frank H. Lewis, Jr.||Jul 1968 – Nov 1969|
|Commander J. J. Gawarkiewiez, III||Nov 1969 – Mar 1971|
|Commander William C. Conner||Mar 1971 – Aug 1973|
|Commander Leland R. Dobler||Aug 1973 – Apr 1974|
|Lt. Commander Bruce L. McCall||Apr 1974 – Jun 1974|
|Commander Richard A. Lowery||Jun 1974 – Jul 1976|
|Commander Gene Davis||Jul 1976 – Jul 1978|
|Commander George D. Fraunces||Jul 1978 – Oct 1979|
|Captain Herbert H. Lewis, Jr.||Oct 1979 – Jul 1981|
|Captain Dorwin C. Black||Jul 1981 – Jun 1983|
|Captain A. A. Kannegiesser||Jun 1983 – Aug 1985|
|Captain Richard E. Brown||Aug 1985 – Jun 1987|
|Commander Bruce St. Peter||Jun 1987 – Aug 1989|
|Commander Donald B. Hutchins||Auh 1989 – Sep 1991|
|Commander Douglas F. Elznic||Sep 1991 – Jun 1993|
|Commander Richard J. McAfee||Jun 1993 – Apr 1995|
|Commander Gary A. Engle||Apr 1995 – Jun 1997|
|Commander Paul Bosco||Jun 1997 – Jun 1999|
|Commander Katherine L. Gregory||Jun 1999 – Jul 2001|
|Commander Douglas G. Morton||Jul 2001 – Jun 2003|
|Commander Jeffery T. Borowy||Jun 2003 – May 2005|
|Commander Allan M. Stratman||May 2005 – May 2007|
|Commander Paul J. Odenthal||May 2007 – June 2009|
|Commander Chris M. Kurgan||Jun 2009 – May 2011|
|Commander Nick D. Yamodis||May 2011 – June 2013|
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