The “Gator Bees” of Amphibious Building Battalion 2 have embodied the motto of Navy Seabees for almost 80 years, constructing and combating as referred to as upon. However come March 31, the Virginia Seashore-based battalion might be deactivated.
Sailors from Amphibious Building Battalion 2 honored the unit throughout a decommissioning ceremony Thursday at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek’s Chapel.
Amphibious Building Battalion 2 was certainly one of two distinctive battalions within the nation. It performed a serious position in maritime prepositioning pressure operations all through each battle through which the U.S. has been engaged since World Warfare II — offering help for ship-to-shore connections and putting in quite a few army camps.
“All good issues come to an finish. ACB 2 has accomplishment its mission in its present assemble,” stated Rear Adm. Dean Vanderley, commander of Naval Amenities Engineering Techniques Command and Chief of Civil Engineers.
The Navy determined in July to deactivate the battalion after the elevated causeway system — a modular pier stretching as much as 3,000 toes to supply logistic help to Marine Corps and Joint Expeditionary Forces — was faraway from the command’s Desk of Allowance.
“Due to this fact, the choice by the Navy to disestablish ACB2 is sensible fiscally as by its closure the Navy loses no distinctive mission capabilities and sustains a minimal operational influence,” stated Lt. Cmdr. Paul Newell, spokesperson for Expeditionary Strike Group 2.
The origins of Amphibious Building Battalion 2 — previously referred to as the a hundred and fifth Naval Building Battalion — hint to July 14, 1943, when it was commissioned at Camp Peary in Williamsburg.
Appearing as a ship-to-shore hyperlink throughout World Warfare II, Amphibious Building Battalion 2 established pontoon causeways, barge-mounted cranes and pontoon ferries obligatory for amphibious forces to rapidly off-load the big portions of troops and cargo on overseas shores.
The battalion has distinguished itself in myriad operations since World Warfare II, together with the 1958 disaster in Lebanon, the Multinational Peacekeeping Power in Lebanon from August 1982 to February 1984, the October 1983 rescue of Americans in Grenada, Operation Sharp Edge in Liberia in 1991, Operations Desert Defend and Desert Storm in 1992, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti in 1994, catastrophe restoration efforts for TWA Flight 800 and Egypt Air Flight 990 and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Retired Capt. David Stewart was certainly one of 9 former commanding officers in attendance. He and his spouse traveled from Stafford to bid farewell. Stewart was assigned the battalion within the Nineteen Eighties as a junior officer earlier than he returned to steer it in 1999.
Being a part of the battalion’s historical past and its operations, Stewart stated, was “an unbelievable, distinctive alternative.”
“Within the mid-80s, on the time, the battalion’s focus was supporting amphibious operations within the Mediterranean. It was about at all times being ready to ship groups throughout the pond,” Stewart stated.
As commanding officer from 1999-2001, the fast mission was very totally different. Stewart led the battalion when Egypt Air Flight 990 crashed off the coast of New Jersey. His “Gator Bees” have been tasked with salvage operations, utilizing tugs to recuperate the wreckage.
Sometimes, seabees present a variety of building in help of working forces, together with roads, bridges, bunkers, airfields and logistics bases, and supply responsive help catastrophe restoration operations. The amphibious seabees are totally different in that they are often deployed on ships.
“However the world is altering,” Stewart stated. “We now undertaking energy otherwise. We now set up our presence otherwise.”
The battalion was made up of roughly 200 energetic obligation sailors, 650 reservists, and 30 help contractors. However lately, energetic obligation sailors assigned to the unit have been whittled by two-thirds to about 130.
“This alteration didn’t cut back our operational or upkeep necessities. In true Seabee vogue, the command continued to excel. We now have continued to success due to the Seabee ‘can do’ spirit and our skill to adapt,” stated Capt. Atim D. Senthill, commanding officer of Amphibious Building Battalion 2.
Because the order to decommission was handed down, the crew has labored to shut up store, with a lot of the tools moved to its sister battalion — Amphibious Building Battalion 1 in San Diego.
This month’s decommissioning marks the third time in its historical past the battalion has been laid to relaxation. Nevertheless it has a historical past of being recalled in instances of want.
“Whereas I’m saddened ACB 2 will not be on the Navy’s energetic roster, I do know that if this command is ever wanted sooner or later, we will definitely reply the decision,” Senthill stated.
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