MCB 133 - 1967 Vietnam Cruise

Photographs from the MCB 133 1967 Cruise Book

Although this battalion has only been in commission for approximately 17 months (Commissioning ceremonies were held 12 August 1966 at the Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Mississippi), hundreds of hours of work in selecting personnel and forming the battalion's nucleus had been invested prior to commissioning. Some of the first men reporting for duty with the future U. S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One Hundred Thirty Three arrived as early as March and April of 1966. Many man hours were spent merely in receiving the hundreds of new men reporting aboard, getting them accommodated and forming them into a unified utilitarian group. Prior to its commissioning, U. S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One Hundred Thirty Three was over a thousand men strong! But, in the normal attrition process, that number was reduced to 800 men -- and probably the finest unit one can find anywhere.

After the recommissioning, the battalion became involved in many aspects of becoming a totally prepared unit in both the technical and military phases. Men were sent to military and technical schools, both government and private; some were involved in individual and group training; all personnel went through the individual and group military training, beginning with one week at the Center, two weeks at Keesler Air Force Base (one week of applied military training and one at the rifle range) and three weeks at Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base, North Carolina.

Upon the battalion's return to CBC, Gulfport, there were again many phases of training scheduled. In the early part of December, the battalion had the mount-out exercise involving loading and offloading of heavy equipment onto an LST.

On January 6, 1967, the advance party left Gulfport for Camp Faulkner, located southeast of the city of Da Nang, Viet Nam, and situated on a sand dune one-half mile from the beach of the South China Sea, to commence the battalion equipment evaluation program of the equipment the relieved battalion would turn over for our battalion's use. Movement of the main body to Camp Faulkner began 6 February. Immediately upon arrival, the men were indoctrinated into their new jobs. The transition from the relieved battalion to NMCB-133 was very tranquil.

Some of the many jobs we were involved in were as follows: structures for the U. S. Army's First Logistical Command, Da Nang Sub-Area Command, A new base for the Naval Advisory Detachment at Black Rock Bay, a second increment for the Prisoner of War Camp, an Interrogation Center, many major earth moving jobs, ammo bunkers for the U. S. Marine, U. S. Air Force and Viet Nam Air Force, a staging area for the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment's Yard East, a rock fill at the Bridge Cargo Facility, an infiltration course, a staging area at Observation Point for rock hauled to Hue, soil cemented a 10,000 square foot area at Naval Support Activity Covered Storage, resurfacing a helicopter pad at 111 MAF, modifying the drainage at the Naval Support Activity Reefer Center, dismantling and moving an entire Marine camp, four waterfront projects involving pile driving, construction of walkways, and pier additions, many surveys of jobs and possible job sites, site work on Monkey Mountain, a P7E water treatment plant, observation towers, road improvements, bridge erection, well drilling crew for the II and III Corps Tactical Zones of the Republic of Viet Nam, Marble Mountain Tank Farm, a cantonment for Third Amtrac Battalion, NSA Service Craft Repair Facility, Air America drainage and parking apron stabilization, M8A1 matting jobs, the rehabilitation of the Air Force Exchange and cantonments for the 1/1 Marines and 3/1 Marines.

In Camp Faulkner, improvements accomplished were erection of a Pascoe building, drainage modifications, stabilization of perimeter roads, improvements in perimeter bunkers and fighting holes, construction of shelter, water point and ladder to river for the U. S. Marines, painting exterior of all huts, relocation of the P&E office, addition to Projects Materials Office, fencing of material yards, installation of two new 100KW generators and new communications and power lines, drilling a new water well and construction of a storage tank, placement of a security fence at the Enlisted Men's Club, new furniture placed and redecoration of the Enlisted Men's Club and Acey-Deucey Club, remodeling of the galley, improvements to the CPO Club, construction of a new Officer's Club and first class mess, addition to the Acey-Deucey Club and erection of a flagpole and ceremonial center.

The battalion was also involved in Civic Action, with the work primarily in the sub-hamlet of Son Thuy 1, Da Nang East, located outside the southern perimeter of Camp Faulkner. This involved the distribution of soap, clothes, medical and dental treatment, thread, school kits, tooth brushes, cement, wood, corrugated roofing, and seeds. New houses were built and old ones remodeled, DDT was sprayed on a regular basis, a new Civic Action Center, swing sets and see-saws were also constructed.

Other Civic Action functions were one day "adoptions" of orphans, donations to Saint Marie Orphanage, World Evangelization Crusade Orphanage, and Stella Maris School, repairing of generators and lines for a local missionary group, providing equipment for a Boy Scout Jamboree, construction of wire fencing for a Southern Baptist Missionary Welfare Center, and the drawing of plans for a leprosarium.

These were but a few of the hundreds of tasks U. S. Naval Construction Battalion One Hundred Thirty Three was involved in during its nine month tour in the Republic of Viet Nam. It is difficult to give praise to all the men who put in so much time and effort and gave so much of themselves to make our deployment such a successful one. Despite the rather poor living conditions, the adverse weather of rain, heat and humidity, the long hours seven days a week, they kept the battalion's morale, spirit and faith high.

Men of NMCB 133 - we are proud of you and your outstanding achievements.

From the MCB 133 Cruise Book, 1967, Da Nang, Viet Nam.

Photographs from the MCB 133 1967 Cruise Book