A Day in History:  March 5th Is the Navy Seabees 76th Anniversary

On March 5, 1942, the Navy Seabees were officially formed. Formally named Naval Construction Battalions, the Seabees were formed because of the need for base construction during World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the civilians who had been doing construction for the Navy were no longer permitted to work overseas. International law prohibited civilians from fighting the enemy in combat zones, therefore if they were to defend themselves they would not be protected by the Geneva Convention.

On January 5, 1942 a request was granted to form a unit of construction specialists who could defend themselves and the construction site if attacked. This unit of approximately 250 individuals consisted of highly skilled construction workers and engineers. The Seabees were unique to the military, with an average age of 34, well above the draft age. Although many most likely had good civilian jobs, they chose to serve their country by bringing their skills to the war effort.

The first battalion was deployed to Bora Bora. The men initially called the battalion “Bobcats” after the code name BOBCAT, which was given to the island of Bora Bora. On March 5 the official nickname “Seabee” was given to all the personnel of the Naval Construction Battalions. The name Seabee was taken from the first two letters of the words “construction battalions.” They were also given the motto “Construimus Batuimus” – “We Build, We Fight.”   

After December 1942 President Roosevelt halted voluntary enlistment into the Seabees. Men for the Construction Battalions had to be obtained through the Selective Service System. By the end of World War II, approximately 325,000 men served in the Seabees.

The Seabees took part in every island invasion in the Pacific during World War II, building roads, camps and airstrips, as well as underwater construction. Their construction as well as their fighting took place on six continents and more than 300 islands during the war. They eventually participated in building an artificial harbor in Normandy right after the invasion.

As we celebrate the Seabee’s birthday, Veteran’s Commemoratives (vetcom.com) honors those who have been a part of the Seabees, as well as Veterans of all of our armed forces.  We are proud to provide a large selection of customized jackets, rings and watches.

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  • I received my United States MA-1 Bravo Jacket yesterday and I am very pleased with it. Thanks

    Charles W

  • Thank you very much for the two beautiful garments! Both the MA1-Bravo Jacket and the Concealed Carry Soft Shell Vest fit perfectly and are tailored to perfection. They are rugged and warm, exactly what I was looking for.

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  • Dear Vetcom, Received the MA-1 Bravo Jacket yesterday. Thank you so very much, made a Veteran very happy. Was so hoping to have it on time for him to wear on Veterans Day and you made sure it was here in time. The jacket is beautiful and my husband just loves it. Again, thank you so very much and God bless.

    Jessie H.

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