21 July, 1944 IP: 18.104.22.168 Posted on July 21, 2016 at 01:14:38 PM by John Ratomski
Seabees At Guam With First Wave - 21 July, 1944
Guam Needs Rebuilding --Seabees At It Again
GUAM (Delayed)—The little town of Agat is taking on new life. Growling bulldozers, with their rain-spouted exhaust pipes, billow thick black smoke as their Seabee operators cle-ar the debris littered streets for better things to come.
The Seabees are at it again. The rebuilding of Guam had been without letup since D-day. Hardly had the first wave of shock troops hie the beaches than the first bulldozer blade dropped in to the gooey, cement-like mud. MONSOON SEASON On top of everything else, Seabees have been confronted with the monsoon season. The galedriven downpours come and go without schedule, bogging down everything in general — everything, that is, but the Seabees. One of the first jobs undertaken by the Seabees was the construction of a sorely needed road from beach to battlefront, over which supplies and "the heavy stuff" could pass in a minimum of time. The rattling of machine guns and the deep throated roar of field artillery were ctosely followed by survey parties, who were in turn followed by the actual road building crews. GUARDS ON TRUCKS The machine operators varied their usual procedure. Instead of one man, each truck, road scraper, and bulldozer had two—a driver and guard. Not once, but often, did bullets fly at these men. Some found their target.—USMC Sgt. Bill Allen, Combat correspondent.
"Seabees building roads on Guam varied their usual procedure," reported Sgt. Bill Allen, Marine Corps Combat Correspondent. "Instead of one man, each truck, road scraper, and bulldozer had two - a driver and a guard. Not once, but often, did bullets fly at these men. Some found their target.
The Seabees had learned the ropes of war on Bougainville," he continued. "Resourceful as ever, they methodically picked their way through mine fields and out-smarted concealed Japanese traps.
"During the battle of Agat the second night , a bulldozer could be heard laboring away on the road just outside our camp. "Then the Japs opened up, the motor didn't even sputter. The work kept right on. 'Hey', somebody yelled to the driver, 'those are Japanese shells.
"The driver replied: Rotten marksmen, aren't they,?' and kept right on working.
AROUND THE CLOCK
A battalion of Seabees, most of them battle-hardened veterans of the suicidal Japanese last-stand attacks during the Bougainville campaign, worked all day and then manned defensive positions in the hills of Guam every night for two weeks, it was revealed by Lt. Cmdr. G. J. Whelan, CEC, USNR, the battalion's OinC.
The Shore Party work was very successful," Lt. Cmdr. Whelan said. -Ships unloading on the beaches assigned to the battalion were fully unloaded sIx hours before the ships of other transport divisions.
Besides working on the beaches, the Seabees set up watering points, established gravel pits and took, over the job of keeping open the vital supply lines to the front line troops. New roads were constructed, old lanes cleared and widened. Destroyed bridges were repaired when possible and new ones built where the existing ones were found beyond repair.
Moving into the town of Agana soon after its capture, Seabee bulldozers cleared the main streets of mines and debris caused by the heavy shelling of the town.
"Great numbers of land mines were located and disarmed," Lt. Cmdr. Whelan said.
Despite the fact that the Seabees were under heavy mortar shelling and enemy sniper fire while on the beaches, the battalion suffered few casualties.