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Soon after the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor, the idea was conceived by the Navy Department of forming construction units which would do all construction work overseas that would arise from the exigencies of war. Less than a year later a bottle-neck developed in the unloading of ships which made it obvious that the Navy needed not only experienced builders but capable stevedores, as well. Hurriedly the "Special" Battalions were formed. Their personnel consisting of some life-long stevedores, but in great part, of men who had never before been on a dock for a purpose other than boarding a ship or fishing.
These battalions came through in the best traditions of the Seabees and the U.S. Naval Service. From Port Hueneme, California, to the Philippines, from Davisville, R. I., to Burma. The "Steve-bees" have, in full battalions, detachments and units, performed miracles in speed of loading and unloading supply ships.
The 28th Special Naval Construction Battalion is typical of the fast-working, efficient, stevedoring outfits that have done so much to facilitate the logistic angle of the war effort. At Pearl Harbor it received commendations for its speed and capability, for its record-breaking handling of all possible manner of cargo. In the Philippines it continued its excellent work. Soon after V-J Day the battalion moved to Japan, where it was decommissioned.
When the 28th Special landed at the Philippine Islands, it found nothing in the form of living quarters waiting for them. A camp had to be built from scratch and there was no one around to do it but the stevedores themselves. The men fell to the job with a vengeance, determined to prove their versatility. Following in the footsteps of a Construction Battalion, they built a camp that was generally conceded to be among the best on the island.
It is to these men who have sweated on the docks through all hours of the day and night; who have outdone themselves in an unaccustomed construction job that this book, the story of their lives in the 28th SI'ecial, is respectfully dedicated.
Army& Navy Pub. Co.
United States Navy, World War 1939-1945, Regimental Histories, 28th Special U.S. Naval Construction Battalion, Seabees, "Steve-bees"
United States Navy, "Cargo soundings album: April 1944 to November 1945 (28th Special Naval Construction Battalion)" (1946). World War Regimental Histories. 161.
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