They aren’t the troops charging the beaches but the unsung heroes who uniquely carved those beaches from scratch. The US Navy’s Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees, are a breed apart, not your typical troops.

Nicknamed for their “CB” designation, these are the electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and surveyors – the backbone of wartime construction.

Born from War: Building a Path to Victory

Born from the desperate urgency of World War II, the Construction Battalions (CBs), established on March 5, 1942, faced a seemingly insurmountable task: transforming the unforgiving landscapes of the Pacific into bastions of Allied power.

The CBs (sounds like “Seabee”) stemmed from the vision of Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, the then-Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, having to recognize the urgent need for a dedicated construction force within the Navy.

Over 12,500 African Americans served in segregated Seabee battalions, like the 34th, 20th (Special), and 80th. These pioneering Black sailors not only built vital infrastructure for the war effort but also chipped away at racial barriers within the Navy, paving the way for a more integrated future for the US military.

With a simple yet powerful motto, “Construimus, Batuimus” or “We Build, We Fight,” they went about their mission – carving airfields from jungles, constructing vital ports from scratch, and turning desolate islands into logistical hubs.

Their legacy, however, extends far beyond the battlefields, leaving an indelible mark on the world stage.