NAVAL MOBILE CONSTRUCTION BATTALION
In June 1960, the Chief of Naval Operations authorized the establishment of 18 Reserve Naval Construction Battalions, each with an allowance for a staff of eight Reserve officers and 26 enlisted, and up to 13 assigned Seabee divisions. A Seabee division was defined as a Seabee unit at a reserve center. The Seabee Divisions each had a Commanding Officer. Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion 25 consisted of: 9-15, Minneapolis, Minnesota; 9-16, St. Paul, Minnesota; 9-21, Lincoln, Nebraska; 9-22, Omaha, Nebraska; 9-25, Sioux City, Iowa; 9-26, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; 9-27, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 9-46, Racine, Wisconsin; 9-49, Madison, Wisconsin; 9-50, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; and 9-56, Duluth, Minnesota. All were within the Ninth Naval District and carried the number nine in their titles. There were over 200 Seabee Sub-units in the country organized into the 18 Battalions.
In July 1961, battalion unit annual duty for training was initiated on a cycle basis covering distinct phases: battalion organization, basic military qualification, operational and advanced military training, amphibious exercises and construction. In July 1961, CDR Robert THORTON, CEC, USNR, became the first Commanding Officer of Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion 25.
In October 1961, Reserve Mobile Construction Battalion 25 was mustered for the first time as a member of the Seabee Ready Reserve. The newly formed Battalion mustered at Naval Construction Battalion Center Davisville, Rhode Island. While at Davisville, the new battalion organized itself on the parade field, on the obstacle course and still had time to check out some practical factors. It could be said this new battalion came into being with a storm - for the arrival of Hurricane Hilda consumed the first few days of this annual training duty. In October 1961, LCDR OMAN relieved CDR Thorton as Commanding Officer.
In June 1962, CDR Joseph LOOPER, CEC, USNR, relieved LCDR Oman as Commanding Officer. There was no training duty in 1962 primarily due to the events associated with the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962).
In March 1963, the Battalion deployed to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for military training with the Marine Corps. This training duty was to prepare the battalion in the area of military readiness.
During this period there was a change in the way drills were performed. Since the start of the Reserve Seabee program in late 1947, and through the 1950's, drills had been performed during the week in the evenings (four 3-hour sessions per month). After much discussion units began changing to weekend drills. For example, Detachment 9-46 in Racine changed to weekend drills in early 1963. The change had a positive affect on training time efficiency, on military skills training events, and on general work production. This change was the key to Detachment and, later, battalion operational success. A drop-off in member participation, as was feared, did not materialize to any significant degree.
In February 1964, the Battalion deployed for annual training duty to CBC Port Hueneme, California. This was the Operational Construction portion of the training requirements and the battalion was the first battalion to undertake this portion of Seabee training. The scheduled program of training was to take two weeks but the battalion completed the program in three days.
In March 1965, the Battalion deployed to Coronado, California, for Amphibious Assault Training. Going over the side on cargo nets, hitting the surf in papa boats, and enjoying the subdued roar inside LVT's were memories of the two weeks. In June 1965 CDR George WILLIAMSON, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Looper as Commanding Officer.
In April 1966, the Battalion deployed to Peaceful Valley, Elbert, Colorado, for the next operational phase of training under simulated advance base conditions. At the Peaceful Valley Boy Scout Camp the conditions were found to be ideal for that kind of CAN DO training. This training duty would be long remembered for the Letter of Commendation from Admiral Yeager, Commandant, Ninth Naval District, Great Lakes, Illinois, for the outstanding job done by the Battalion for the Boy Scouts.
In March 1967, the Battalion deployed to Camp San Onofre, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Combat weaponry and tactics were taught as a refresher course for the military training conducted in 1963.
On 16 August 1967, the Reserve Naval Construction Regiment program was established and the Battalion was organized under the SECOND Reserve Naval Construction Regiment located at the Recruiting Command, Chicago, Illinois. The first operational Readiness Duty for the SECOND Reserve Naval Construction Regiment was at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi.
In January 1968, the Battalion deployed to Naval CBC Gulfport, Mississippi, and RNMCB 15 and 25 were on board at the time under the command of the SECOND NCR. The new arrangement was different as was the name for annual training duty. It was now called Readiness Duty (REDDU). The emphasis was on crew and operations training. In June 1968 CDR Dean CONNETT, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Williamson as Commanding Officer.
In June 1968, the existing Construction Battalion Divisions were renamed Mobile Construction Battalion Sub-units. The Naval Construction Regiments were also designated shore commands and the Mobile Construction Battalions as combat components of the Naval Reserve. The Chief of Naval Operations authorized two more regimental staffs and each staff was assigned three RMCBs for a total of 16 battalions and six regiments.
In January 1969, the Battalion again deployed to CBC Gulfport. REDDU again emphasized crew and operations training.
In September 1969, the Chief of Naval Operations established the FIRST Reserve Naval Construction Brigade at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center, Washington, D.C. RADM George Reider, CEC, USNR, was the first Commander. The Battalion continued to report to the SECOND RNCR which came under the command of Commander, FIRST Reserve Naval Construction Brigade, along with eight other reserve regiments.
Until 1970, RMCBs performed as a unit only during their annual two weeks of active duty for training. During the rest of the year the Sub-units at reserve centers drilled as independent detachments with little or no command and control from the battalion headquarters.
In January 1970, the Battalion deployed to Naval CBC Gulfport. The deployment was to train in operational construction requirements. The Battalion was the first to move into Camp Hill in the DeSoto National Forest 20 miles from Gulfport and to start the construction of the advance base camp.
In January 1971, the Battalion deployed to Naval CBC Gulfport. The unit returned to Camp Hill now known as Camp Swampy. The training mission was military and combat readiness. One week was spent on the rifle range and one the other was on defensive tactics. In June 1971 CDR Ralph SPEER, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Connett as Commanding Officer.
In July 1971, the manning allowance for a battalion mirrored that of active duty Seabee battalions with 24 officers and 738 enlisted; RNCF year-end strength in 1971 was 10,694 officers and enlisted.
The month of July 1971 marked the end of an era for the way battalions operated as a unit. From their beginnings the battalion headquarters was placed at the home Naval Training Center of the assigned Commanding Officer. When the CO changed the battalion headquarters moved to the new Training Center. For TWENTY-FIVE this practice transitioned to a permanent site, along with each of the other battalions under the direction of the Brigade, as each battalion was assigned to a permanent drill location (Permanent Drill Site or PDS) as soon as practical. In the case of TWENTY-FIVE this shift occurred when the battalion drill site was assigned to Great Lakes Naval Training Center Building 2700 and then two years later to Building 1600 there when those facilities became available for occupancy.
In 1972, during the period 22 January through 5 February, RNMCB 25 deployed on active duty for training to Naval CBC Gulfport with the primary emphasis on technical skills training.
In January 1973, the Battalion deployed to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, as part of the SECOND Naval Construction Regiment. An advance party arrived on 21 January. Training for both battalions was under the direction and support of the 31st Naval Construction Regiment, Naval CBC Port Hueneme. Deployment was at Camp Talega and the emphasis was on military skills training. The activities included convoying equipment from the Naval CBC Port Hueneme to Camp Talega. In addition 800 complete sets of new 782 gear were permanently issued to battalion personnel. A total of 886 officers and men participated in live weapons firing the first week and a field exercise the second week. Rear Admiral George Reider, Commander, FIRST RNCF, was on board on 8-9 February. REDDU 73 ended on 10 February with a delay party remaining to turn over vehicles and supplies to CBC Port Hueneme. This pattern of a Regimental deployment with an advance party from one battalion and a delay party from another would serve as a model for years to come. In June CDR David KOSKI, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Speer as Commanding Officer.
In July 1973, each reserve battalion was renamed Reserve Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (RNMCB) vice RMCB to conform to the titles of active duty NMCBs. Construction began on 12 of the RNMCB Permanent Drill Sites in June 1973 and all 18 were usably complete as training sites by 1974. RNMCB 15 was at Richards-Babaur Air Force Base, Kansas City, Missouri. After building rehab work during the period 1972-1973 the headquarters of RNMCB 25 was at Building 1600, Naval Base Great Lakes, Illinois. CDR Koski was the first CO of TWENTY-FIVE to drill on a monthly basis with full battalion staff at that site.
In January 1974, the Battalion main body deployed to CBC Gulfport for its annual REDDU. In addition a detachment was sent to the Panama Canal Zone for operational type construction projects.
In April 1975, the Battalion deployed to the Naval CBC Gulfport for Readiness Duty. A total of 19 officers and 457 enlisted men reported on board. The emphasis was on crew training, operational type projects and classroom instruction. Disaster recovery training was also covered. A 30 man detachment was dispatched to Hawaii for overseas operational training at a Marine Corps base. In June CDR Richard F. CASWELL, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Koski as Commanding Officer.
In October 1975, a detachment of 1 officer and 54 enlisted men were deployed to Gretna, Nebraska, to help in construction of a 4H Camp. At the end of 1975 all 17 reserve battalion Permanent Drill Sites were in place with Readiness Support Allowances valued at $750,000 on board. Assigned among the 17 PDSs were 112 active duty enlisted Seabees who were responsible for security and maintenance of the RSA's equipment, supplies, and vehicles plus the Permanent Drill Site (PDS) facilities. During 1974 and 1975 work was finished on the PDS at Naval Base Great Lakes. At that point the members of the Racine Detachment, who completed much of the work, become battalion headquarters members who drilled permanently at the PDS site.
In January 1976, the main body of the Battalion deployed to Naval CBC Gulfport for operational, crew training, and practical factor checkout in addition to concentrating on eliminating Personnel Readiness Capabilities Program (PRCP) weaknesses. An additional detachment reported to Naval Base Great Lakes for construction project work. On 1 July 1976, the RNCF Regional Program offices were established with the Central Region office located at the Naval Base Great Lakes.
In October 1977 the billet title of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Command was changed to Command Master Chief.
In March 1977, the Battalion deployed to CBC Gulfport and Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Battalion personnel received technical and military training. In September CDR James S. PAPEZ, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Caswell as Commanding Officer.
In February 1978, the Battalion again deployed to Naval CBC Gulfport. All hands reported for technical and general training. In May 1978, CNO directed the RNCF to establish air detachments in each Reserve battalion similar to those in active duty battalions to shorten their response time in arriving at a theater of operations. An era came to an end when the Father of the Seabees, retired Admiral Ben Moreell, CEC, USN, passed away on 30 July 1978.
In January 1979, the main body of the Battalion, consisting of 21 officers and 444 enlisted men, reported to Naval CBC Gulfport for two weeks of technical and military training plus assigned construction projects. Two detachments from the Battalion deployed to separate sites (one to Rota, Spain with 40 men and one to Warner Springs, California with 20 men). In October 1979 CDR Lawrence A. AARON, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Papez as Commanding Officer.
In April 1980, the Battalion deployed to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, for military training. Annual training duty was now called Active Duty for Training (ACDUTRA). In April the SECOND Reserve Naval Construction Regiment began a new practice of deploying assigned RNMCBs to different sites for independent ACDUTRA from the Regiment staff. The main body of RNMCB 25 was delayed from departing MCB Quantico due to the return of elements from the Iran hostage rescue mission (Desert One) to MCB Quantico.
In February 1981, the Battalion deployed to CBC Port Hueneme for technical training. In October CDR Richard C. CULLERTON, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Aaron as Commanding Officer.
In April 1982, the Battalion deployed to Army Base Camp Blanding, Florida, for military training.
In February 1983 the Battalion deployed to CBC Gulfport for tactical construction training. The Air Detachment (89 men and one officer) of RNMCB 25 was the first to deploy independently from the main body when the Air Detachment convoyed from the Naval CBC Gulfport to the Gulfport airport and exercised there for five days completing a Bailey bridge project and Rapid Runway Repair project. Detachments of RNMCB 25 deployed to Hawaii; Adak, Alaska; Rota, Spain; Midway Island and Gulfport. In October 1983 CDR James E. SHELTON, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Cullerton as Commanding Officer.
The Battalion moved its headquarter from Naval Base Great Lakes to NAS Glenview, Illinois, in October 1983. The base camp style site had been occupied by RNMCB 26 which moved to NAF Detroit, Mt. Clemens, Michigan in September 1983.
In April 1984, the Battalion deployed to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton for construction operations and military training. In October 1984 CDR Winston D. WILLS, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Shelton as Commanding Officer.
In 1985, the Battalion focused on a year devoted to a Greenstinger exercise. In April 1985 the SECOND Regiment deployed to MCAGCC Twenty Nine Palms, California. RNMCB 15, a 100 man detail of RNMCB 25, NCFSU 2 and Construction Battalion Hospital Unit -11C underwent military training and completed 400 man-days of projects. RADM Thomas Maddock, Commander, FIRST Naval Construction Brigade, visited the ACDUTRA site. In September RNMCB 25 conducted a Greenstinger exercise deploying its Air Detachment by military aircraft from NAS Glenview to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. While deployed at Fort McCoy construction projects were completed by the Air Detachment.
In April 1986, the Battalion deployed to Camp Pendleton for military training. In October 1986, CDR Terry J. HODNIK, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Wills as Commanding Officer.
In March 1987, the Battalion deployed to Fort Benning, Georgia, for construction operations and military training. A change in tasking to the SECOND Regiment resulted in assigning detachments for construction project work at additional out-of-continental United States sites. The Battalion sent a 40 man detachment to Rota, Spain, to augment NMCB 40. In July 1987 the Regiment and its units began receiving Zenith 248 computers and SAMMS software for improved management and control.
In March 1988, the Battalion's main body deployed to Camp Ripley, Minnesota for cold weather training. In October 1988 CDR Royce H. PRATHER, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Hodnik as Commanding Officer.
In April 1989, the Battalion deployed in a number of elements. The largest element of 240 men deployed to the Naval CBC Gulfport for Contingency Crew Construction Training (CCCT) consisting of Bailey Bridge, Rapid Runway Repair, Electrician School Leadership and CBR school. Another 140 man element went to Camp Ripley, MN, for weapons training including 81mm mortar, M-60 MG, .45 pistol and M-16 rifle training. Another 140 man element went to Camp Ripley for vertical, horizontal and Pre-engineered building construction crew training. Another element of 110 men went to NCBC Davisville, RI, for CCCT and CBR training. There was a Field Exercise (FEX) at Volk Field, WI, and a Command Post Exercise and CBR training at the RSS.
In February 1990, the Battalion conducted a 24 hour Greenstinger air detachment exercise and the Air Detachment deployed to Camp Mataguay, CA. The main body deployed to Naval Base San Diego, CA. The battalion received the COMRNCF FY90 Best Embarkation Exercise designation. A detachment of 143 men conducted an M-16 qualification exercise at Volk Field, WI. In September 1990, CDR Ronald P. DETROYE, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Prather as Commanding Officer.
In March 1991, the Battalion's main body trained at NB San Diego, NAB Miramar and MCB 29 Palms, CA. Five detachments fired weapons at Volk Field, WI, during M-16 qualification. RNMCB 25 was selected as Best of the West and the Supply Department was selected to receive the Blue E for Best Supply Department.
On 26 July 1991, the Battalion was renamed Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWENTY FIVE as a result of the lessons learned during mobilization of reserve units for Desert Storm. Other commissioned units in the RNCF were similarly renamed dropping the word Reserve from their titles.
In April 1992, the Battalion deployed to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for TACON 92. The Battalion sent five 30 man detachments to MCB 29 Palms, CA, for project work. In July 1992 CDR James M. BOERNGE, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Detroye as Commanding Officer.
In September 1992, the SIXTH Naval Construction Regiment was decommissioned at NAS Glenview, IL. As a result of the decommissioning of the SIXTH NCR, two of its units NCFSU 4, Granite City, IL, and CBHU-22 were attached to the SECOND Naval Construction Regiment. That event was part of a broader action where two reserve battalions (NMCB 2, San Francisco and NMCB 12, Davisville, RI) were decommissioned. In addition to the SIXTH NCR, the FIFTH NCR, San Francisco, CA, and NCFSU 1, McKeesport, PA, were decommissioned. This left 15 reserve battalions, six regiments and 3 NCFSUs.
On 1 October 1992, the reserve Seabees were reorganized under active duty commands for operational command and control. The reserve Seabee units were organized under either the 2nd Naval Construction Brigade (NCB), Little Creek (Norfolk), VA, or the 3rd Naval Construction Brigade, Pearl Harbor, HI. The 2nd NCB Commander was RADM William A. HEINE, III, CEC, USNR, and the 3rd NCB Commander was RADM G. B. ESTES, CEC, USN. As a result the Battalion continued to report to the SECOND NCR which reported to 3rd Naval Construction Brigade.
In 1993, changes in reporting relationships resulted in changed priorities for Annual Training. The concept of Tiered Readiness (units trained on a rotation basis to Tier I - Mobilization Ready units or Tier II - Contributory Support units) resulted in Contributory Support tasking for the units of the SECOND NCR. As a result the Regiment shifted the tasking of its units to construction execution and crew support.
In January 1993, the Battalion deployed to NAS Miramar, near San Diego, four naval bases in the San Diego area, and Camp Pendleton, CA, in task oriented groups rather than a single main body. The emphasis was on contributary support construction projects. In June 1993 the Base Realignment and Closure Commission announced that NAS Glenview was to close (BRAC 93).
In 1994, the Battalion deployed to the Southern California area, including Camp Pendleton and San Clemente Island in construction task oriented groups. The emphasis was again on a maximum effort toward contributary support construction projects. A detachment also went to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf for airfield maintenance work.
In 1994, orders were received by the SECOND NCR to prepare for its decommissioning in September. NCFSU 4, Granite City, Illinois was to be scheduled for decommissioned also. RNMCB 15 and RNMCB 25 were to be transferred to the NINTH Naval Construction Regiment, Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas. NCFSU 2 was to be detached, its headquarters moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Naval Reserve Center, Port Hueneme, and to be attached to the FIRST Naval Construction Regiment, Armed Forces Reserve Center, Los Alamitos, California.
This action was part of the general reserve construction force unit action whereby other units were to be decommissioned at the end of the fiscal year: NMCB 13, Peekskill, NY; NMCB 16, Los Alamitos, CA; and NMCB 20, Columbus, OH, along with the 8th NCR, Philadelphia, PA.
This action left 12 reserve NMCBs and two NCFSUs in addition to eight NMCB Augment units and two CBMUs (both unit types stood up as a consequence of Desert Shield/Desert Storm). The commands and units remaining were the two active duty brigades (NCBs) each with two reserve Naval Construction Regiments, six reserve NMCBs, one reserve NCFSU, four reserve NMCB Augment units and one reserve CBMU. NR CBHUs continued to be attached to the remaining reserve regiments. The strength of each brigade was about 6,000 reserve Seabee officers and men in units. The total strength of the RNCF was approximately 14,000 in September 1994 (about 16 percent of the Naval Reserve).
In 1994, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWENTY FIVE consisted of the following detachments: 0225 - Rock Island, IL; 0425 - St. Paul, MN; 0525 - LaCrosse, WI; 0725 - Milwaukee, WI; 0825 - Great Lakes, IL; 0925 - Calumet, MI; 1025 - Madison, WI; 1125 - Sheboygan, WI; 1225 - Duluth, MN; 1325 - Waterloo, IA; 1425 - Dubuque, IA; 1525 - Green Bay, WI; 1625 - Forest Park, IL; and 1725 - Plover, WI. The authorized allowance of NMCB TWENTY FIVE was 24 officers (15 CEC, 9 other) and 744 enlisted personnel (619 OF-13 rates and 125 other rates).
At 0830 hours on 17 September 1994 a SECOND Naval Construction Regiment Decommissioning Ceremony was held in Hanger 1 at NAS Glenview. At 1030 hours CDR Norman SCHLEIF, CEC, USNR, relieved CDR Boernge as Commanding Officer of NMCB TWENTY FIVE.
On 17 September 1994 Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWENTY FIVE reported for duty to the NINTH Naval Construction Regiment, Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas. On that day CAPT R. F. Cowan, CEC, USNR, relieved CAPT Joseph A. McKensie, III, as Commander of the NINTH NCR.
End of the period of history of NMCB 25 with the decommissioning of
the SECOND (Reserve) Naval Construction Regiment
The history above is an abbreviated history of the unit
based on a number of sources including the official
units yearly command history report (SSIC 1322 report)