Re: SEABEES OF THE NAVY.....
Senators: NMI monument should honor Seabees
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 00:00 By Gemma Q. Casas - Variety News Staff
THE Senate has adopted a resolution asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to build a memorial at American Memorial Park that honor the Seabees who helped re-build the islands after World War II.
Sen. Maria T. Pangelinan, D-Saipan, said Naval Construction Battalions, more commonly known as the “Seabees,” restored local roads, built harbors, water system and other infrastructure.
“The addition of electricity and running water may seem mundane to our people today, but in retrospect they truly marked a better way of life then previously experienced in our islands prior to the arrival of the Seabees. The running water and electric power grid that the Seabees put in place signaled Saipan’s belated entry into the 20th century,” said Pangelinan in Senate Resolution 16-31 that senators adopted during their session last week.
The Seabees first came ashore in the Northern Marianas on June 15, 1944 with the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Seabees of the Sixth Naval Construction Brigade along with the 302nd Pontoon Detachment commanded by Commodore Paul James Halloran of the Civil Engineer Corps USN, built the largest airport in the world of its time — Tinian’s B-29 airport, consisting of North Field and West Field.
“The people of the commonwealth have not forgotten that it was the United States Seabees that led us toward modern day conveniences and provided the necessary infrastructure for our islands,” Pangelinan said.
“In remembrance of the Seabees’ dedication to the islands of Saipan and Tinian, the people of the CNMI desire a monument to be built in their honor,” she added. “The lack of a memorial dedicated to the work of the United States Seabees constitutes a missing page in Saipan’s history.”
A metal plaque from Japanese and American warplanes that the Seabees made on Saipan in 1944-45 is suggested to be integrated into the proposed memorial.