Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Twenty Six traces its roots to the Battalions of World War II. Originally commissioned as Mobile Construction Battalion Two Six (MCB 26) on 08 August 1942, this command actively participated in several major operations and support of advanced base groups in the Pacific during World War II.
Inception through WWII
THE HISTORY of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 26 begins at Camp Allen in Norfolk, Virginia, where the Battalion was organized on 8 August 1942, named Naval Construction Battalion TWENTY-SIX. After advanced training at Camp Bradford in Little Creek, Virginia, NCB 26 was further trained at Gulfport, Mississippi. The Battalion embarked from Camp Rousseau, Port Hueneme, California and arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, before landing at Guadalcanal and Tulagi, British Solomon Islands 26 December 1942. NCB 26 also served in Tulagi, Munda, Malasta and Nugri in the Southwest Pacific in support of various advance base groups for the duration of the war. In 1946, Naval Construction Battalion TWENTY-SIX was deactivated.
Reserve MCB 26 was revived and reorganized in 1962 as an element of the Selected Reserve with CDR M. C. WAKEFIELD, CEC, USNR, as Commanding Officer. Headquarters was established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
At the same time, NCB 27 was being reactivated and reorganized. The organization and activation of RMCB 27 came on 1 April 1962 with CDR M. W. NICEWANDER, CEC, USNR, as Commanding Officer. The original command was located in Gary, Indiana, with eleven detachments in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
Effective in July 1962, additional Battalion Staff was formed, and the official headquarters was moved to United States Naval Recruit Training Command, Chicago, Illinois. In May 1966, CDR F. N. HARRIS, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR NICEWANDER as Commanding Officer of RMCB 27.
RMCB 26 did not perform battalion annual training duty in 1962 due to the requirements of the Cuban missile crisis.
In 1963 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Davisville, Rhode Island.
In 1964 the Battalion deployed to Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJeune, NC.
In 1965 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Davisville, RI.
In 1966 the Battalion deployed to Peaceful Valley Boy Scout Ranch, Elbert, Colorado.
After four years at Milwaukee, RMCB 26 moved its headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana, where CDR E. R. ENGLERT, CEC, USNR, assumed command from CDR Wakefield.
In 1967 the Battalion deployed for Amphibious Training to the Amphibious Training Center, Little Creek, Virginia.
In 1968 the Battalion deployed to Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJeune, NC.
On 1 July 1968, RMCB 26 and RMCB 27 were combined with the men of RNMCB 27 coming under the banner of TWENTY-SIX. Rather than being deactivated, RMCB 27 was administratively transferred to the New England area to take the place of RMCB 12, which had been called to active duty in Vietnam.
Thus began the current chapter in the history of RMCB 26. The reorganized TWENTY-SIX first came under the command of CDR T. H. TORGERSEN, CEC, USNR.
In 1969 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS.
In 1970 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS.
The active designation Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) was changed to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) to avoid confusion with the abbreviation of a Marine Corps Battalion during the later part of the Vietnam Conflict. As a result both active and reserve MCBs in the early 1970's were redesignated as NMCBs and RNMCBs, respectively.
In 1971 the Battalion deployed to Advanced Base Camp (Camp Hill), Gulfport, MS.
With headquarters in Chicago, CDR TORGERSEN ran the Battalion until he was relieved by CDR R. J. WELLER, CEC, USNR, on 1 July 1971.
Early in CDR WELLER's tour, the Battalion Headquarters was moved from United States Naval Recruit Training Command, Chicago to Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois. The Battalion at the time was composed of eleven detachments (then called sub-units) in the tri-state area of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. In January 1971 the Battalion changed the drilling site of Detachment 0126 (sub-unit 9-1) from United States Naval Recruit Training Command, Chicago to Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois. This change and the additional manpower accelerated the improvement of the Battalion's facilities.
In 1972 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS.
In 1973 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS.
On 1 July 1973, CDR R. W. BRAUN, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR WELLER as Commanding Officer of RNMCB 26. In December 1973 the major construction of a 40 x 100 foot rigid frame Pascoe building was completed at NAS Glenview. This building was the first of a series in the development of the permanent drill site (PDS). Two other 20 x 48 buildings were also completed. Under CDR BRAUN, the Battalion expanded to 13 detachments on 1 July 1874 with the addition of Springfield, Illinois, and Benton Harbor, Michigan. During Fiscal Year 1975, RNMCB 26 was one of only two battalions nationwide to earn an overall REDDU evaluation of Outstanding.
In 1974 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS.
In 1975 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS.
Effective November 1975, CDR J. R. GALLAUGHER, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR BRAUN as the Commanding Officer of RNMCB 26.
In 1976 the Battalion deployed to Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, MS.
CDR GALLAUGHER's tenure as Commanding Officer was short lived. Because of his civilian employment, he was classified as a key federal employee who would be unavailable for naval service in the event of a national emergency. Department of Defense policy directed that he be transferred to Standby Reserve-Active. Effective July 1976, CDR Thomas A. WINKEL, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR GALLAUGHER as the Commanding Officer of RNMCB 26.
Under the command of CDR WINKEL, the Battalion continued its Permanent Drill Site development. A third 20 x 48 building (supply warehouse) was completed, and three 20 x 48 building shells were erected for administrative needs. In addition, electrical distribution, fencing and a tire/battery shop were begun. During this same period, two (2) detachments were disestablished: Rockford, Illinois, due to closing of the Reserve Center and Benton Harbor due to insufficient personnel.
The billet title of Senior Enlisted Advisor (used from 1967) evolved to Mater Chief Petty Officer of the Command (MCPOC) in 1974. In FY77 the billet title was changed to Command Master Chief.
In 1977 the eleven detachments of RNMCB 26 were: 0126 Chicago, Illinois; 0226 Gary, Indiana; 0326 Indianapolis, Indiana; 0426 Lansing, Michigan; 0526 Southfield, Michigan; 0726 Fort Wayne, Indiana; 0826 South Bend, Indiana; 0926 Evansville, Indiana; 1026 Grand Rapids, Michigan; 1126 Flint, Michigan; and 1326 Springfield, Illinois.
In 1977 the Battalion deployed to Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia.
In March 1978, RNMCB 26 was reorganized under the Self-Sustaining Unit (SSU) concept. The detachments were essentially grouped by geographical area and set up as companies. This allowed the companies to function throughout the year with the company commander having year-round responsibility for the detachments in his area. The result was a six (6) company organization.
On 1 October 1978, CDR WINKEL turned the command of RNMCB 26 over to CDR Walter T. MEISNER, Jr., CEC, USNR.
During Fiscal Year 1978, RNMCB 26 grew from 473 to 629 enlisted men. Active Duty for Training took place in April 1979 at the Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, which was tactical construction (TACON) training. In addition to the TACON Unit Active Duty for Training, a 40 man detachment performed Active Duty for Training with the Reserve Marines at Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. The Permanent Drill Site Administrative Facilities were completed to the point that all activities except supply moved from the Naval Air Station. Glenview spaces to the Permanent Drill Site in May 1979.
The Permanent Drill Site Master Plan was altered to take advantage of three 20 x 40 modular units that became available from the Air Force in Ohio through the efforts of RNMCB 20. In late 1979, the units were moved to the Permanent Drill Site and during the winter of 1979-80, Battalion personnel set them in place and constructed connecting links for the six-building administrative complex.
Active Duty for Training, Fiscal Year 1980, took many forms. The main body trained in March at Construction Battalion Center (CBC) Gulfport, MS with 80 percent of the man-hours spent in rate training classes and crew skill activities such as disaster recovery and a 48-hour air detachment exercise. In February, 20 men trained at Fort Drum, New York, with RNMCB 12-Cold Weather Training. Overseas detachments numbered three (3) in Fiscal Year 80: Men trained in rock crusher operations in Puerto Rico in April; 55 men went as a detachment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in May for construction with a detachment from NMCB 1, and 50 men went to Rota, Spain, in May to do construction work with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion SEVENTY-FOUR. In addition, several teams trained at the Permanent Drill Site, in two-week periods, developing the PDS and maintaining automotive and construction equipment. By May 1980, the Battalion had grown to 668 enlisted men an increase of 195 men in 20 months.
The Reserve Center at Springfield, Illinois, was closed in Fiscal Year 79. It wasn't until October 1979 that Detachment 1326 was reestablished at Naval Reserve Center, Decatur, Illinois. Also in Fiscal Year 79, the Reserve Center at Flint, Michigan was closed but Detachment 1126 was immediately reestablished at Naval Reserve Center, Saginaw, Michigan. On October 1, 1979, a group of Seabees drilling at Naval Reserve Center, Dubuque, Iowa, was given detachment status: 0626. The group of Seabees drilling at Naval Reserve Center, Cadillac, Michigan grew to 23 during the 1979-80 period and neared detachment status. As of May 1980, RNMCB 26 consisted of twelve (12) detachments plus the men at Naval Reserve Center, Cadillac, Michigan.
The summer of 1980 witnessed major changes in the composition of the Reserve Naval Construction Force and RNMCB 26. Detachments 0926 (Evansville) and 0226 (Gary), were transferred to other Reserve Naval Construction Force Commands. At the same time, Detachment 1226 (Toledo) and Detachment 1526 (Cadillac) were added to the Battalion roster. This reorganization was accomplished with minimum inconvenience, and the Battalion strength remained at approximately 620 personnel.
In October 1980, CDR R. G. HEPBURN, CEC, USNR, relieved CAPT Walter T. MEISNER, Jr., as Commanding Officer.
During Fiscal Year 1981, RNMCB 26 grew in strength from 620 to 670 personnel. Officer Corps strength was brought up to within one of allowance, and an aggressive retention program was undertaken. Work continued on the PDS with the completion of all major projects funded and with the completion of an unfunded project using personal donations from the men of RNMCB 26.
The Battalion led the nation in Seabee calendar sales for Reserve Battalions and awarded more than 30 letters of commendation, Naval Achievement Medals, and meritorious citations.
Active Duty for Training in Fiscal Year 1981 consisted of the main body attending military training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, with Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit-302 and SIXTH Reserve Naval Construction Regiment in March 1981. This training focused on the development of the battalion's military skills, including:
- M-16 Qualification and Familiarization
- Defensive Tactics during Construction
- M-60 Qualification
- Mortar Qualification
- Small Unit Leadership
The culmination of this training was a 48-hour field exercise (FEX) where all the military skills acquired were tested. The training was conducted under the auspices of the TWENTIETH Naval Construction Regiment, Marine Training Detachment, and special military training teams from the SIXTH Reserve Naval Construction Regiment.
In May 1981, the Battalion ABEE, ASI and ATI were conducted by the Reserve Naval Construction Force. In each category, the battalion stood in the top 1/3 of the battalions in the nation. Major progress continued through the summer of Fiscal Year 81 at the Permanent Drill Site with the completion of a number of structures and the addition of a supply warehouse.
In April 1982 the Battalion's Main Body traveled to Camp Shelby, Mississippifor its annual Active Duty for Training.
In April of 1983, the Battalion performed its Active Duty for Training at Quantico, Virginia. Upon its return, the Battalion began preparations for redeploying to its new Permanent Drill Site at the Naval Air Facility at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens, Michigan. The Battalion officially redeployed in August of 1983 and located its headquarters in the VR-52 Hangar pending construction of permanent buildings.
On 1 October 1983, command of the Battalion passed from CDR HEPBURN to CDR Richard D. SHEPARD, CEC, USNR.
Annual Active Duty for Training was performed in April 1984 at Davisville, RI. During FY84, planning and construction of five buildings at the PSD occupied the skills and energies of the Battalion personnel. The new Permanent Drill Site at Naval Air Facility, Detroit, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mount Clemens, Michigan was officially occupied in September 1985. Active Duty for Training FY85 for the main body was held at Marine Corps Base, TWENTY-NINE Palms, CA. The mission was primarily military skills training with emphasis on desert tactics.
On 1 Ocober 1985, CDR David L. BURRUS, CEC, USNR relieved CDR SHEPARD as Commanding Officer. Battalion strength was approximately 710 personnel.
During Fiscal Year 86, preparation for a major Air Detachment fly-away exercise code named Green Stinger was initiated. The exercise was scheduled for Fiscal Year 87. Construction detailing and landscaping was completed at the Permanent Drill Site. Active Duty for Training was held in April 1986 at the U. S. Army Infantry Training Center, FT Benning, GA, and consisted of both military skills training and construction missions. Two detachments were sent to West Loch, Hawaii to construct an EOD boat ramp and training camp, with superb results. Battalion strength was approximately 680 personnel.
For exemplary performance Reserve Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWENTY-SIX was awarded the Best of Type 1986 out of all battalions in the FIRST Reserve Naval Construction Brigade. The Unit Commendation Medal (the 'E') was awarded to all hands.
On 1 October 1986, CDR Norman D. RADERER, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR BURRUS as Commanding Officer. Battalion strength was approximately 771 personnel.
A Detachment of 110 men deployed to CBC Gulfport, MS. for technical training in January 1987 along with the SIXTHRNCR and other subunits. The major emphasis for the year was training for the execution of the Green Stinger Exercise. The exercise training of Air Detachment and support personnel continued up to the event which was conducted as ACDUTRA IN JULY 1987. The execution progressed as planned with aircraft lift-off from the NAF Detroit 52 hours after receipt of the order (at 44 hours - completely staged at ramp area). Twelve (12) C-130 sorties transferred men, equipment and supplies to Camp Atterbury, IN, for 9 days of Air Det defensive operations and construction training prior to their return to the PDS. The 20TH NCR conducted the first of type Unit Mobilization Readiness Inspection at the Permanent Drill Site in July. Construction detachments were deployed to the Atlantic Fleet area under the operational control of the SIXTHRNCR. Construction work continued at the PDS.
In March 1988 RNMCB 26 deployed to the Army Training Center, FT Jackson, SC, for Active Duty for Training. A mobilization exercise was conducted as part of the ACDUTRA whereby the processing steps to Active Duty were experienced in the exercise by about 140 men at the Reserve Centers prior to reporting aboard FT Jackson. Training at FT Jackson consisted of military skills training concluding with a 3 day Field Exercise (FEX) and construction projects. The PDS site was formally accepted as complete by the Public Works Officer in April 1988. Battalion strength stood at 775 in 13 detachments in August.
On 1 October 1988 CDR Larry G. DEVRIES, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR RADERER as Commanding Officer.
In FY-89 the battalion was assigned construction projects in Hawaii and at NAVSTA Rota, Spaln, for annual training duty. Over 325 men in 19 details completed projects at five Hawaii sites: NAVBAS Pearl Harbor, NAVCOMSTA Wahaiwa, MCAS Kaneohe Bay, NAS Barbers Point and PMRF Barking Sands on the island of Kauai. All details received high praise from base Public Works Officers and base CO's, from the SIXTHRNCR, and from Commander, RNCF. The detail to Rota, Spain also performed well. The battalion's main body ACDUTRA was completed at CBC Port Hueneme, CA, in April-May 1999 where a 'Wooden Fist' tactical construction training exercise was the focus of training. Additional ACDUTRA training was performed at RNCF schools, NAVRES schools, and at the Readiness Support Site. Detachments continued to perform well with numerous weekend construction projects for training at Reserve Centers, other military bases, and at community project sites. The Decatur detachment was selected as one of the 'Take Pride in America' award winners and its members received the award at White House ceremonies in July 1989. Detachment total strength stood at 822 in thirteen detachments on 30 September l989.
In FY-90 the battalion received tasking of construction projects for annual training at NAS Memphis, NAS South Weymouth, MA, and NAS Glenview, IL. Assigned details completed that work from April through September 1990. Other project work was completed by details to Jamacia, Guam, and NAVSTA Rota, Spain. Other personnel completed exercises during annual training and work was completed at the RSS and for NAF Detroit. The battalion completed a main body deployment to CBC Port Hueneme, CA, in April and successfully conducted a 'Sea Dragon' - a ship loading/unloading exercise. Thirty four pieces of construction equipment were prepared by the battalion over a 72 hour period and then loaded aboard the USNS Curtis. In addition, other personnel completed annual training at the RSS and at RNCF schools. Detachments continued to complete weekend training construction projects. RADM P. C. Rosser, COMRNCF, visited the RSS and was the Guest of Honor at the Change of Command ceremony held at the RSS on 29 September 1990. Detachment total strength stood at 873 in thirteen detachments on 30 September 1990. The authorized allowance of the unit was 24 officers (15 CEC, 9 others) and 744 enlisted personnel (619 OF-13 rates and 125 other rates).
CDR Thomas R. REID II, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Larry G. DEVRIES as Commanding Officer on 29 September 1990.
During the fiscal year of FY91 the battalion's focus was on Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Military training was emphasized. Several individuals were cross assigned out to those RNCF units activated for Desert Storm and were recalled to active duty in the first quarter. RNMCB 26 itself was notified in January 1991 of plans to activate it towards the end of the fiscal year, but early, successful military resolution of the Southwest Asiaconflict removed the need for RNMCB 26's recall. Deactivation occurred by July 1991 for those RNMCB 26 members recalled as individuals for Operation Desert Storm. On 26 July 1991 the battalion was renamed "Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Twenty Six" as a result of the lessons learned during mobilization of reserve units for Desert Storm. This change was made to all other reserve construction force units. In September 1991 battalion strength was 853 in 13 detachments.
In June 1992 the battalion deployed to MCB Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina.
In August 1992 CDR O. W. (Wayne) RAMSEY relieved CDR REID as Commanding Officer. In September 1992 battalion strength was 845 in 13 detachments.
In September 1992 the Sixth Naval Construction Regiment was decommissioned at NAS Glenview, IL. CAPT David L. BURRUS was Commander. This event was part of a broader action where two reserve battalions (NMCB 2, San Francisco, CA and NMCB 12, Davisville, RI) were decommissioned in addition to the 6th NCR, the 5th NCR, San Francisco and NCFSU 1, McKeesport, PA. This left 15 battalions and 3 NCFSUs. As a result of the decommissioning of the 6th NCR its battalions - NMCB 26 and NMCB 20 were attached to the 8th Naval Construction Regiment, Columbus, OH, with CAPT Frank E. FALCONE as Commander. NMCB 23, Ft. Belvoir, VA, was also assigned to the 8th NCR.
On 1 October 1992 the reserve Seabees were reorganized under the 2nd Naval Construction Brigade (NCB), Norfolk, VA, and the 3rd Naval Construction Brigade, Pearl Harbor, HI. As a result NMCB 26 was attached to the 8th NCR, Columbus, OH, which reported to 2nd NCB. The 2nd NCB Commander was RADM William A. HEINE, III, CEC, USNR, and the 3rd NCB Commander was RADM G. B. ESTES, CEC, USN.