Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Program

History

Date of Award

8-2008

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Ronnie M. Day

Committee Members

Henry J. Antikiewicz, Stephen G. Fritz

Abstract

Prevalent depictions of United States Naval Construction Battalions (Seabees) were engendered by John Wayne in The Fighting Seabees and the musical, South Pacific. While capturing the ingenious determination that birthed their motto '˜Can Do', these incomplete pictures don't portray the complexity of construction under combat conditions in a harshly unforgiving and demanding environment.

The Seabee's first combat landing was New Georgia. In six months, these battalions built five airfields, granting Allied forces air superiority over the Solomon Islands and Rabaul. Battalion records stored at the Naval Facilities Command Archives, Port Heuneme, California, combined with documents from the National Archives, provided source materials.

This thesis examines the construction operations undertaken at New Georgia that were the proving grounds from which future construction methodology stemmed. This campaign tempered the men, techniques, and equipment necessary for Pacific construction. The true heart of the Seabee's was forged by the lessons learned at New Georgia.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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