U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FOUR was commissioned on May 11, 1942. Starting with 32 officers and 1,073 enlisted men, NMCB FOUR's first assignment in World War II was to build advanced bases in the frozen arctic of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
In 1943, 26 men landed in Guam on D-day plus six and began building bases on the island. The balance of the Battalion soon followed. By 1945, NMCB FOUR had moved to Okinawa to build roads, camps and a large ship repair facility in Baten, Korea. After the war's end, NMCB FOUR was decommissioned as part of the nation's armed forces reduction.
On February 12, 1951, an order was given to a reactivate U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FOUR. NMCB FOUR was recommissioned March 9, 1951, at the U.S. Naval Yards and Docks, Norfolk, Virginia with eight officers and 282 enlisted men. NMCB FOUR was homeported in Davisville, R.I. and deployed to such diverse locales as: Bermuda; Port Lyautey, Morocco; Naples, Italy; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Trinidad; Ecuador; Newfoundland, Canada; Puerto Rico; Holy Loch, Scotland and Rota, Spain.
In 1962, NMCB FOUR was called into action at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba when the threat of attack from the Communist regime seemed imminent. Throughout the alert, the Seabees of NMCB FOUR worked with great speed fortifying the base's perimeter and assisting the Marines in base defense.
NMCB FOUR conducted four tours during the Vietnam War. In December 1965, the Battalion flew to Chu Lai, Vietnam. This was to be the first of many invaluable operations performed in Vietnam. In Chu Lai, FOUR repaired monsoon-ravaged airfields, installed runway lighting systems for night operations and built a helicopter-landing pad. A detachment was also sent to the Kham Duc Airfield near the Laotian border. In August 1966 the Battalion returned to its new homeport in Port Hueneme for leave and retraining.
The second Vietnam deployment was to Da Nang in March 1967. The Battalion worked at the Da Nang Air Base, dug wells at the Special Forces Camp at Con Thien and built a galley for the Marines. NMCB FOUR returned to Port Hueneme in October. Four months later in February 1968, the Battalion returned to Vietnam.
During its third deployment, the Battalion did essential construction projects along the Vietnam coastline and national highway Route One. In Quang Tri and Camp Evans, the Seabees built facilities for Commander, Naval Forces Vietnam. Approximately half the Battalion redeployed to the Da Nang area. The other half went south to the region of Phu Bai. Key Phu Bai projects included constructing aircraft revetments, laying 85,000 square-feet of steel aircraft matting for the Marine Air Group strip and laying 18 miles of eight inch fuel line from Wonder Beach to Quang Tri.
In the north, the detachment at Camp Haines built the Army's Camp Evans. The Battalion erected nearly 1,000 wooden buildings, resurfaced and matted a 2,900 foot aircraft runway, and constructed 23 miles of eight inch oil supply line. In October, NMCB FOUR returned to the United States after having one of the busiest deployments of any battalion in Vietnam. It then conducted a fourth tour in Vietnam from April 1969 to December 1969.
In the 1970s, NMCB FOUR deployed to such places as Diego Garcia, Guam, Hawaii, and Japan. During this decade, the Battalion completed over 3,800 structures at the Guam relocation site for Vietnamese refugees during Operation NEW LIFE.
The Battalion was called into action again after Typhoon Tip destroyed the U.S. Marine Barracks at Camp Fuji in 1979. The Seabees rebuilt the barracks and operated a Military Affiliate Radio Station until normal lines of communication were restored.
The 1980s brought the Battalion to new regions around the world including Bahrain, Greece, Crete, Palau, Yap (U.S. Trust Territories), Egypt, Kusco, Panama, Costa Rica, Africa, Korea, and Sicily. In 1989, the Battalion's Air Detachment participated in Operation TEAM SPIRIT, providing contingency construction support to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) at Camp Pohang, Republic of Korea.
NMCB FOUR redeployed from Camp Moscrip, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico to Camp Rohrbach, Saudi Arabia during Operation DESERT SHIELD in August 1990. While redeployed, the battalion set up a 2,000 man tent camp, built a 3,600 foot taxiway, 20 hides (parking stalls) and other projects in support of U.S. and Allied Forces in the Middle East. On June 15, 1991, responding to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, NMCB FOUR mobilized from its deployment site at Camp Shields, Okinawa to the Republic of the Philippines. The battalion worked around the clock to help the Subic Bay Naval Complex recover by clearing roadways and collapsed buildings, restoring utilities and building shelters in the area devastated by 12 inches of volcanic ash.
In the wake of Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1992, the battalion mounted out a 150 man Air Detachment and conducted the largest Seabee airlift ever as part of the disaster relief efforts in the communities of Homestead and Florida City, Florida. NMCB FOUR, along with nine other Seabee units, reopened a local school, cleared debris, restored utility services and provided valuable assistance to private residences, government facilities and volunteer organizations.
In December 1994, NMCB FOUR deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation SEA SIGNAL to construct facilities for 20,000 Cuban migrants. The $35 million quality of life improvement program consisted of two cities on 125 and 150 acre sites. Work included constructing 1,341 strong back tents and 67 concrete block buildings, installing over 17 miles of underground piping and 53 miles of electrical cable and placing 11,700 cubic yards of concrete.
In 2002, NMCB FOUR sent its Air Detachment and Water Well Team to Basilian Island, Philippines, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM-Philippines. The Air Detachment repaired roads, constructed sea huts, bridges and helicopter landing zones and installed water wells to support U.S. Forces.
During the 2003 deployment, NMCB FOUR deployed to Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) I to help sustain I Marine Expeditionary Force combat operations. NMCB FOUR distinguished itself by building five bridges and repairing supply routes to maintain and increase logistics flow to combat forces during the war phase of OIF. They made history as the first Seabees to reach Baghdad with Task Force Mike. After the war phase, NMCB FOUR relocated to Camp Hope in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq where they worked with local contractors rebuilding a courthouse, jail, police station and 18 schools. The Battalion's Air Detachment also deployed to Iraq, via Spain and Turkey, to repair numerous schools and community interest items in the cities of An Najaf and Karbala.
In 2004-2005, NMCB FOUR's main body deployed to Camp Fallujah, Iraq. There, and at other Forward Operating Bases, Seabees provided construction and camp maintenance support to American and Allied forces operating in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II. During Operation AL FAJR, the Siege of Fallujah, NMCB FOUR executed bridge assessments, road clearing missions, force protection projects and dewatering of flooded areas throughout the city while exposed to enemy fire. The Battalion's efforts were essential to improving the command and control, endurance and survivability for Marines combating insurgents throughout the Sunni Triangle. The Battalion also played a major role in providing engineering, construction and security support for Iraq's historic democratic elections. Concurrent with supporting OIF II, NMCB FOUR deployed to five other locations including: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Andros Island, Bahamas; Rota, Spain; Sigonella, Sicily; Souda Bay, Crete; and Dukat, Albania. In 2004, Seabees from NMCB FOUR were awarded the ADM Ben Moreell Medal, RADM Combs Award, Stethem Award, Marvin Shields Award and the Navy League's Collins and Ricketts awards. Upon returning to homeport, the command executed a dynamic training plan to hone technical and combat skills as well as sent 250 personnel to the Gulf Coast to conduct humanitarian relief operations following the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. 2007 saw NMCB FOUR demonstrate its ability to deploy worldwide in support of a variety of missions in multiple theatres. In March 2007, the Battalion deployed for seven months to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of CENTCOM; to Guam, Palau and DFT Talisman Saber in Australia in support of PACOM; and to Alaska and San Nicholas Island in support of NORTHCOM. During its deployment, NMCB FOUR earned the reputation as being the "go-to" battalion for contingency and peacetime construction around the world. In August of 2008, NMCB FOUR personnel deployed to 13 Det sites on four different continents in support of construction requirement for CENTCOM, EUCOM, AFRICOM and SOCOM. NMCB FOUR truly was deployed around the world supporting the Global War on Terror and humanitarian and community relation projects, continuing to demonstrate the expansive capabilities of today's Seabees.
In January 2010, NMCB FOUR deployed for the fifth time to the CENTCOM theater. Operations spanned 1,200 kilometers with permanent construction left at well over 100 project sites throughout Afghanistan, including the execution of one of the largest earthmoving projects in recent Seabee history constructing a new logistics hub. NMCB FOUR executed over 400 acres of base expansions and constructed command and control, force protection and life support facilities, taxiways, parking aprons, and water wells on seven forward operating bases throughout Regional Command – North, enabling the timely deployment of over 4,000 Soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and 4th Combat Aviation Brigade. In Regional Command – East, the battalion constructed critical facilities at six combat outposts and forward operating bases, enabling U.S. force expansion in eastern Afghanistan. Additionally, the battalion partnered with the Afghan National Army to train military engineers who directly support counterinsurgency operations.
In June 2011, NMCB FOUR deployed again to Afghanistan and is headquartered in Helmand province. NMCB FOUR Seabees are currently operating in 23 locations throughout the Afghanistan theater of operations in support of II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, and Task Force 3-10.
The Battalion has been honored as the "Best of Type" battalion sixteen times, four as an east coast battalion and eleven as a west coast battalion. NMCB FOUR has received five Peltier "Best of Best" awards, the Presidential Unit Citation, three Navy Unit Commendations, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, five Golden Anchor and three Silver Anchor awards for retention excellence. Notable Civil Engineer Corps Officers who have proudly served in NMCB FOUR include: RADM Buffington, RADM Shelton, RADM Johnson, RADM Kubic, RADM Phillips and RDML Engle.
The Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FOUR have excelled through the course of three major wars and many contingencies around the world. They personify a tradition of excellence because they successfully and enthusiastically confront the challenges before them.