March 8, 1944. IP: 22.214.171.124 Posted on March 8, 2017 at 11:53:07 AM by John R.
Seabee Regiment Commended
A regiment of Navy Seabees has been commended by Army, Navy, & Marine corps officers for the part it played in repelling a sustained 17- day counter-attack on Bougainville.
The Seabees were under command of Comdr. L.v. Clark Deichler, USNR.
Two batt., bivouacked just off the Torokina fighter strip, were subject to especially heavy fire.
In order to remain alive, in the bivouac area between March 8 and 24, 1944, an official report stated, it was necessary for all hands to spend some of the daylight hours in foxholes and to sleep in foxholes each night.
In one 24 hour period, the Japanese scored 11 direct hits on the camp of one battalion and dropped more than 110 shells within 50 yards.
These combat conditions did not prevent the Seabees from completing all emergency repairs on the Piva fighter strips, which had taken a heavy battering. During the entire 17 day period, no naval facility was out of commission for more than 30 minutes.
Airfield repair groups have been recommended for appropriate awards by maj. Gen. R.J. Mitchell, U.S.M.C.., who was then com. Aircraft, Solomon islands, and who is now Com. Air South Pacific.
Throughout the assaults, the Seabees continued work on a hospital, a PT base, boat pool repair facilities, and other important naval base structures. They replaced infantrymen in handling rations & unloading cargo. They furnished a combat team of approximately 400 men to be held in reserve for front-line duty.
Their work, in the face of continued enemy opposition has been on the highest order and reflect great credit upon the battalion participating, said rear admiral O.O. Badger, U.S.N. Com. Service Squadron, South Pacific Force. This command, Rear Admiral Badger continued, takes this opportunity to commend the regiment for the excellence of their performance.
The Seabees also were commended by Maj. Gen. Mitchell, Capt. H.S. Sease, U.S.N.. Com. Air center, Torokina, Maj. Gen. O.W.. Griswold, Army Com. Off. And Capt. O.O Keesing, U.S.N., Com. Naval air base, Torokina. Replies: