MCB 53 Alumni Association

A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America" for an amount "up to and including my life."

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World War II Photos

The famous New York Daily News cartoonist and former WW2 Marine Bill Gallo made this drawing for a WW2 Seabee friend. They first met in a cave on Saipan.
 
ALFRED H. TESHEE, 133RD N.C.B. IWO-JIMA.  2/19/45
WE LANDED AT H-HOUR PLUS 30 MINUTES, WITH MORTAR SHELLS EXPLODING ALL AROUND US FROM 50 YARDS OUT, ON IN. I WAS AN ASSISTANT BAR MAN WITH THE PERIMETER BEACH GUARD, AND WAS CARRYING AMMUNITION FOR MY AUTOMATIC RIFLEMAN. AS SOON AS WE HIT THE BEACHES WE TRIED TO DIG IN. BUT IT GOT TOO HOT, AND FOR PROTECTION WE ADVANCED TO THE TERRACES WHICH ROSE FROM THE BEACH TO THE AIRSTRIP.  THE JAPANESE WERE ENTRENCHED EVERYWHERE, IN PILLBOXES,FOXHOLES AND EVEN AMONG THE WRECKED PLANES ALONG THE EDGE OF THE AIRFIELD. MACHINE GUN AND RIFLE FIRE FROM SNIPERS WAS VERY HEAVY, BUT MY PARTNER HAD GONE AHEAD WITH THE BAR, AND I STARTED TO FOLLOW HIM. I WAS RUNNING WHEN I WAS WOUNDED IN THE LEFT ANKLE. AT FIRST I THOUGHT I'D STEPPED ON A MINE----THE EXPLOSION SEEMED TO COME FROM UNDER MY FOOT. I JUMPED INTO A DITCH, AND THOUGHT I WAS SAFE FROM OVERHEAD FIRE. BUT WHEN I TURNED MY HEAD, I FOUND THAT I WAS LYING NEXT TO A JAP MINE. I MOVED ABOUT A DOZEN FEET, AND THEN TRIED TO GO ON, TO GET MY AMMUNITION UP TO WHERE IT MIGHT BE NEEDED. I COULD FEEL THE BULLETS GOING OVER ME.  A MARINE OFFICER WHO CAME BY TOLD ME TO MAKE IT BACK TO A SHELL HOLE ON THE BEACH, WHERE I'D FIND A MEDICAL CORPSMAN TAKING CARE OF SOME WOUNDED MEN. I MANAGED TO CRAWL DOWN THERE, WHERE THEY GAVE ME FIRST AID TREATMENT, AND THEN PUT ME IN AN EVACUATION CRAFT. THE JAPS WERE SHOOTING AT THE BOAT FROM MOUNT SURIBACHI, AND IT SEEMED ABOUT READY TO FALL APART ANYWAY. THERE WAS ABOUT THREE INCHES OF WATER IN THE BOTTOM. HOWEVER WE GOT AWAY AND MADE IT OUT TO THE HOSPITAL SHIP.
   
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  This picture shows what down to earth homespun Seabees did in the 1940's, and it still works today.  The middle picture shows two Seabees with an island made replacement engine oil cooler on a Caterpillar D-8.  These Seabees added a radiator from a truck for the replacement engine oil cooler. The air moving through the engine oil cooler was forced by the engine fan. Classic Seabee !!!!!
  Bottom picture is a Allis-Chalmers HD-14 loading a LeTourneau "LS" carryall on a LST.
The 53rd Leaving Guadalcanal for the Bougainville campaign.
 

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Bill (a/k/a Wild Bill, Skinny McKinney, Skin, Willie, and to his mother, Precious) proudly served with the Seabees of the 111th Naval Construction Battalion along with the 128th & 53rd CB Battalions. Bill embraced the adventure and had a colorful experience with rules & regulations – all with great pride ("there are no rules in War, son"). He survived: landing on Omaha Beach during the Invasion of Normandy on D-Day plus one; the brig (first trip); the Battle of Balikpapan on Borneo in the Pacific; jumping ship in Yokohama Japan to celebrate the end of the war; the brig (second trip); and riding out a typhoon on the final trip home.  The War had a profoundly positive effect on Bill and he was proud to serve his country. Please see "Bill's War" on YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnij1NAI8G4 
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Next four photos 53 on Bougainville
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1945 Seabees using flat car for water tunnel construction on Guam
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Guadicanal Diary of a Seabee Veteran

  The crawler-tractor on the left is an Allis-Chalmers HD-7 pulling sheepfoot rollers. The crawler-tractor on the right is an International TD-18 pulling a carryall. From left to right bottom photo: the first three crawler-tractors are International TD-18's. Then there's three Caterpillar D-8's. A International TD-18, the last one is a Caterpillar D-8. All Carryalls are LeTourneau model "LS".This is grading on the fighter strip on Bougainville. It is from the 77th history book. It states in the 77th history book that the 53rd furnished most of the equipment for the job. Looks like the 77th built most of the buildings for MAG 24 (Marine Aviation Group).

 Jap Bombers scored a direct hit on Gas & oil dump on Bougainville. 8,000 drums were set on fire. Marines & Seabees battled the flames for 30 hours before getting it under control.

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Stephen Cutting "A" Company was with us in the ‘Nam. Steve has contributed numerous items for our web page. Steves’ parents have died and in going through items Steve came across letters that his Dad had written home about the Pacific theater WW2. The letters were written in cursive (will we be the last generation that can write and read cursive??) and Steve has typed them up retaining the misspellings, incorrect grammar, to retain the original flavor of these communications, which follow:

     Back to the days when Uncle Sam sent me to the South Seas. I had an officer that was rather extraordinary. The Major - yes that was his title was an army Major, detached from the Army and sent over to the Navy as an officer in charge of the motor pool. (he was one of the 40 officers, and I was one of the 60 enlisted men).  Anyway, this occasion was down at the river, where my buddy Harry and I were operating a bulldozer and drag-line. We would run one of them for an hour and then trade off for the next hour, and we had a 3/4 yard bucket on the drag line and loading dump trucks with gravel. Well, the Major drove up as I was running the drag line, and having quite a time with my right arm as I had a real sore one with Jungle rot half way between the elbow and wrist.  So the Major sat in his jeep and watched for a while, then came over and told me to go sit in the jeep and he would operate the drag line. He was doing really well, until our skipper who was a full 4 striper, or Captain in the Navy.  Well, the skipper looked over and really flipped.  There was the Major with no insignia on - only a cut off pair of pants and shoes.  He hollered at the Major -- told him to get off the drag-line -- put on a shirt -- and act like an officer.  The Major told him that I was not able to handle the drag line until my arm healed up and for the skipper to get lost. That is when the skipper flipped and told the Major to either obey his order or he would court-marshal him -- and the Major laughed, and stated -- that would be the day, that he was detached from the army and there was no way the Navy was going to court-marshal an army officer. I did get a couple of days rest, but other times were coming.  Scroll forward a couple of weeks, and around midnight I was awakened by the guard who told me to get dressed and get over to the skipper's quarters as the skipper and the major were about 4 sheets to the wind and wanted to see me. WELL -- I got there wondering what in the world had gone wrong -- where had I slipped up -- and the Major told me that the skipper's boat had a broken camshaft and there was none available. The boat with a broken engine was no use to him, and he did enjoy water skiing (joke).  I then asked the skipper if I could use the other boat in the morning to go over to Tulagi.  It was about 20 miles over and the skipper told me NO!!  There was no camshaft over there.  That is when the Major told him to let me have the boat -- that their bet was still on, and if I did come back with a camshaft that would be proof that the enlisted men could do things that officers just couldn't do. Well -- I went over, got a camshaft from a good friend, came back and there were the two officers.  When I gave the skipper the camshaft, the Major laughed and told him he would make him a good officer yet. The Major was always doing the unexpected, and we found out later that he had made a trip back to the states for a week for some R and R. Of course it could have been considered as AWOL, but him being an officer I guess he could get away with it. We never did figure out what he and his wife used for an explanation for her becoming pregnant during the week he was back in the States. So. again scroll forward several months. I was in San Diego again after getting back from overseas - and Astoria, and Santa Rosa, and in January of 45 was in an outfit that had nothing but trouble.  I had asked for a transfer back to Astoria because my brother George was back stateside and thought I was in Astoria. So when I asked for a transfer I was told to forget it or I would be court-marshaled. WELL - that got my dander up, so the next time I got a pass to go to town, I went straight to North Island to the Commander of all Navy personnel on the west coast.  When I got to the office I asked to see the Captain and was told No.  Being the bashful type, I just walked into his office with a shore patrolman right behind me and guess who the Captain was? Yep, the same one I had obtained the camshaft for. He looked up remembered my name and asked me to sit down and tell him what I had on my mind.  Well -- when I got back to the base I told the chief yeoman I would be ready when the guard mail came. The chief himself came over with my service jacket -- and orders transferring me to Astoria.  He also showed me the letter to be posted on the bulletin board which told all enlisted men to indicate where they wished to be transferred to, and all officers to report to North Island for immediate transfer overseas. Seems that all the officers had seen of salt water was down at the beach, and all enlisted men were overseas vets.



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LeTourneau started production on the LS and LP in 1940. They were the first carryalls to have the "radius" A-arch. This was a vast improvement over the A-frame carryalls (the A-frame would break; the A-arch would twist with radial-torsion and not break).  The LS was paired with Cat D7's (the Seabees had very few of these, I've been told if you saw a Seabee a D7, you knew it was stolen from the Army) International TD-18 and Allis-Chalmers HD-14 and HD-10 and the Cat D8.  The LP was paired mainly with the Cat D8 or sometimes the Allis-Chalmers HD-14.  By the way, the tractor carryall combination on the front of the WWII Allis-Chalmers Service Manual is: HD-14 pulling a GarWood carryall. The carryall was built by the world famous speed-boat racer Garfield Wood!  Check him out on the internet!
 
WWII Allis-Chalmers ad shows eight HD-14 crawler-tractors pulling GarWood carryalls. There is also two HD-14 pusher tractors. That's one pusher tractor to four tractor-carryalls.
 
Top picture is of an Allis-Chalmers HD-14 (the reinforcement strip welded to the track frame determines the fact) pulling a LeTourneau model "LS" carryall.
 

   How the airstrip was cleared on Bougainville. They put two International TD-18 bulldozers side by side and cleared the airstrip from the center of the width to the outside. This was done for the length of the airstrip. When the clearing got real tough, they'd put another TD-18 behind, pushing the front one. At times there would be two in front and two in back pushing. (I'd like to find a picture of that)  This picture is of two International TD-18 crawler-tractors with Bucyrus-Erie bulldozers, working side by side on the fighter strip on Bougainville. It is from the 77th history book.

 udt3welcomesmarinesUDT - 3 "SEABEE DEMOLITION TEAM" Welcoming in the Marines at Guam. Look at the date on the sign. 7-14-44. The invasion of Guam started on 7-21-44 !  They were there seven days before the invasion.

 Inside the LST looking at two D6's with angle blades pushing beach to the LST.  One International TD-18 of WWII era will out work a motor grader on beach landings.  The time it takes to move the same cubic yards will be the same. The dozer pushes more yardage (even though the dozer has a slower travel time) and the TD-18 will use 1/2 the amount of diesel fuel the motor grader uses.  Cost wise: TD-18, sand eats up steel tracks but 1/2 fuel cost, will spin in the sand, no jerk to the final drives.  Motor Grader, high fuel cost! Over double the trips to move the same yardage. It spins in the sand and wheel hops!! Big time jerk on the final drives! Very destructive on the machine! $$$  The way people think changes, the earth don't.       Mike Baldwin

 
Jack and Brown (first cousins)
 
 Reed, Baldwin, Hott, Brown, Dix
 
On Bikini   Jack Baldwin on right, "Moose the Diver" next to him, then Simms
 
Coming home Hott, Baldwin, Reed, Brown