Seabee miscarriage of justice

Feb. 13, 2017.

The 72nd anniversary of the Iwo Jima landing is fast approaching. For over 20 years, veterans and friends of the 133rd Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) have tirelessly pursued an award upgrade to the Presidential Unit Citation for their action on Iwo Jima — to no avail.

The 133rd performed heroically side-by-side with the Marine Pioneers that did receive the citation. The 133rd, in addition to its Marine duties on the beach, was also tasked with building and upgrading the Iwo airstrips. An estimated 25,000 airmen lives were saved returning from Japan in damaged aircraft.

The Navy has consistently stated that World War II commanders cannot be second guessed after 72 years. But the Awards Board's decision was incorrect and part of a 72-year-old ethical blunder. The 133rd landed in the first wave with the Marines at 9:20 a.m. Feb. 19, 1945. During the invasion, it was integrated into — and joined at the hip with — the Marine Pioneers; it wore Marine uniforms and carried the same weapons.

It is the only unit that landed in its entirety that did not receive the Presidential Unit Citation. It received more casualties than its Marine Pioneer counterparts in the same exact area.

Senior on-site Marine officers (witnesses) agree that the 133rd Seabees should receive the award and have written supporting letters, including the last surviving Medal of Honor Marine, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams. Lt. Col. Oliver North produced an entire TV program highlighting this miscarriage of justice.

We ask the citizens of Ventura County for their assistance. Please write to President Trump and ask him to intervene and overrule the Awards Board’s decision.

They trained at the Port Hueneme Seabee Base, then named Camp Rousseau, in infantry and trade skills before shipping out to Hawaii for Marine training. From there, they sailed to Iwo Jima.

There’s not many left. Please assist. They deserve It.

Ken Bingham, Ventura

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