AS PART OF THE 1ST MARINE DIVISION'S ENGINEERING BATTALION (3/17) 19TH SEABEE BATTALION LANDS ON CAPE GLOUCESTER, NEW BRITAIN.
CHRISTMAS MORNING - ALONG WITH TWO BATTALIONS OF MARINE ENGINEERS, THE 19TH BOARDED LST'S AND MOVED TO CAPE GLOUCESTER TO HIT THE BEACH AT DUSK ON D-DAY-PLUS-ONE. IN RECORD TIME THE LANDING CRAFT WERE UNLOADED BY DARK AND THE NEXT MORNING MOVED INTO THE BIVOUAC AREA. WORK BEGAN IMMEDIATELY- ROADS, BRIDGES AND COMMUNICATIONS.
CAPE GLOUCESTERS PRIME TASKS WAS TO KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN TO THE FRONT LINES, AND THE BATTALION WAS LIMITED TO THE NATURAL MATERIALS AT HAND, SEA GRAVEL, VOLCANIC ASH, TEAK AND MAHOGANY. SHERMAN TANKS FIRING ARMOR PIERCING 75MM SHELLS TO A DEPTH OF TEN FEET SUPERCEDED PNEUMATIC DRILLING AND DYNAMITE CREWS IN THE OPENING LAVA PITS. WORKING TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY, A TOTAL OF 75,000 CUBIC YARDS OF LAVA WAS REMOVED FROM THESE PITS FOR ROAD SURFACING. THIS SHERMAN METHOD OF DRILLING INCREASED PRODUCTION 350%. PIERS WERE THROWN OUT FOR LST AND LCM LANDING AND A SAWMILL WAS ERECTED TO TURN OUT FINISHED LUMBER. CONTINENTAL RAIN AND SPOTTY SNIPER FIRE WERE NO AID IN PROGRESS.
WHILE ON CAPE GLOUCESTER, THE BATTALION EXPERIENCED WELL OVER 125 RED ALERTS AND 95 ACTUAL BOMBINGS. THE PURPLE HEART WAS AWARDED TO TWENTY-SEVEN MEMBERS OF THE BATTALION, FIVE OF THEM POSTHUMOUSLY. CHESTER PERKINS, MM1C,(CB) USNR, FLEW A MARINE CORPS OBSERVATION PLANE OVER ENEMY TERRITORY DROPPING FLARES AND DIRECTING ARTILLERY FIRE, AS WELL AS DROPPING SUPPLIES TO FIGHTING UNITS. HE ALSO TRANSPORTED HIGH-RANKING OFFICERS. PERKINS BESIDES RECEIVING MERITORIOUS PROMOTION IN THE FIELD FROM MAJOR GENERAL, RUPERTUS COMMANDING GENERAL OF THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION, RECEIVED THE NAVY AIR MEDAL AND A CITATION FROM THE ADMIRAL OF THE FIRST FLEET.
Added: December 26, 2013
Submitted by Name: Michael Carter From: Sandusky Ohio
Comments: My grandfather,Gaylord Carter was in the 77th battalion in the Philippines during World War 2. I'd be interested in pictures or info about him if possible.Thanks.
Comments: Would like to take this time to wish all the military, veterans, active duty, reserves and especially my Seabees, a very Merry Christmas, and the happiest of New Years. May God enrich your lives and pour His many blessings over you and yours
Comments: I served in rhod island for a school in 71 then on to morroco sidi yahia for ayear anda half then on to nmcb71 and went to the south pole then on to bermuda a finshed out in 75 then spent a few years in reserves I have been a liifelong electrician.
Comments: My father, Joe Espy was a second class carpenter's mate in the 29th on Tinian, I was looking for the archive movies, or pictures from there ? thanks dave espy
Added: December 19, 2013
Submitted by Name: Gary Jufer From: Vancouver, Washington E-mail: email@example.com
Comments: I was a Steelworker 2nd class attatched to NMCB 40 between 1978-1981. I was deployed to Roosevelt Roads, Puert Rico 1978-1979 at camp Moscrip, and deployed to Diego Garcia 1979-1980 and was attatched to Senior Chief Henson, and Chief Dorells pipeline welding crew