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Celebrating the Underwater Construction Teams Anniversary

Celebrating the Underwater Construction Teams Anniversary

The Chief of Naval Operations tasked the Naval Construction Force with “developing and maintaining the capabilities to support the underwater construction requirements of the Navy” in November of 1967, and the teams were formally commissioned as their own units on Feb. 15, 1974, after serving as underwater construction branches of naval construction regiments.
 
Historical documents show Seabee leaders were soliciting ideas for the name of their unit. When reviewing historical documentation about the unit’s establishment, team members discovered a civil engineer corps officer jokingly wrote to the officer-in-charge of the underwater construction branch at the time that they needed “a catchy acronym” for the team, less they might be called the “Seabee Ocean Floor Team (SOFT)” or the ‘Construction Force Undersea Engineering Detachment (CONFUSED).” Ultimately, the underwater construction branches became the Underwater Construction Teams, a fitting name that not only captured their capabilities succinctly but stood the test of time.
 
Despite their commissioning date, the Seabee diving community can trace their roots back to World War II where specially trained Seabees qualified as Navy divers and participated in underwater demolition of reef obstructions, beach clearing operations, and in-shore construction necessary for the development of channels, harbors, and mooring facilities for the fleet. During the 1960’s, Seabee divers became major contributors to the early success of the “Man-in-the-Sea” programs, including SEALAB II and TEKTITE undersea laboratories, where saturation diving was refined.
 
“Our underwater construction teams are an absolutely critical component of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force,” said Rear Adm. Brad Andros, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. “Our Seabee divers provide direct and tangible support to not only the Fleet but to our allies and partners who rely on their unique skillsets to restore and build maritime infrastructure for more secure and prosperous sea lanes and maritime commons.”
 
The UCTs were initially composed of 12-15 Seabees with temporary additional divers and support personal assigned as project needs required. With the growing workload and increased complexity of the missions over time, today’s UCTs have approximately 90 personnel assigned including eight civil engineer corps officers. Like all Seabees, in addition to their construction role, the unit must be capable of sustaining and defending itself if the situation required.
 
“Our underwater construction teams are always looking for more dedicated Seabees to join our ranks, said Master Chief Petty Officer Brian Strantz, the Naval Construction Force’s Force Master Diver. “Serving as a Seabee diver offers unique training opportunities, specialized skillsets valued across the dive industry, and the opportunity to deploy forward and see the immediate impact and benefits of your work.”
 
Since formally commissioning the units in 1974, the teams of Seabee divers have deployed to every continent and participated in projects and missions that include: repairing and re-opening piers, wharfs, and ports; providing mission critical waterfront facilities during combat operations; providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief following natural disasters; completing subject matter expert exchanges with ally and partner dive forces; and repairing underwater infrastructure for the U.S. military which has saved the government significant funding over the past five decades and has enabled distributed maritime operations.
 
“Today’s underwater construction teams were built on the legacy of the many Seabee divers who came before us and continued to challenge the status quo”, said Cmdr. Mike Duffy, commanding officer, UCT One. “We are proud to carry on the tradition and heritage of the early Seabee divers as we continue to deploy ready and capable teams globally in support of our fleet.”
 
Long known for their trademark Seabee “can do” attitude, the Seabee divers continue to lead technological advances within the underwater construction field. Over the past few years, the divers have increased their waterfront engineering expertise and effectiveness through usage of developing hydrographic survey and remotely operated vehicle technology, along with expedient port damage repair materials.
 
“I’m continually impressed with our Seabee divers who embrace new technology and look for innovative ways to conduct their work in a more efficient or safe manner.” Said, Lt. Cmdr. Tyler Anderson, executive officer of UCT Two. “I believe it says a lot about the type of personality this line of work attracts—we’re a team of problem-solvers who embrace challenges, operate in austere environments, and take care of our teammates.”
 
While the commands will recognize the anniversary locally in Pt. Hueneme and Virginia Beach on Feb. 15, the Hampton Roads Seabee Ball will be held on Mar. 2 and will have a Seabee diver theme, and a larger celebration and reunion is planned for May in coordination with the National Seabee Divers Association at the United States Navy Seabee Museum onboard Naval Base Ventura County where the UCT exhibit will be re-dedicated.
 
For more information about becoming a Seabee diver, contact a UCT Recruiter at NCG_UCT_Recruiters@us.navy.mil.
 
UCT 1 and 2 are part of the Naval Construction Groups in the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force, who bridge the gap from sea to shore and provide capabilities in complex and austere environments. For more information about NECC and our units, visit our website: https://www.necc.usff.navy.mil/

Article originally published on www.einpresswire.com as Celebrating the Underwater Construction Teams Anniversary