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Seabee battalion being decommissioned

Jul. 24, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Members of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 from Gulfport, Mississippi, work in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, on Oct 31, 2005. (Achmad Ibrahim/The Associated Press)
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GULFPORT, MISS. — Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 is being decommissioned Friday during a ceremony at the Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport.

The battalion, called the "Fearless 74" was first commissioned in 1943 in Williamsburg, Virginia. It's gone from South Pacific island-hopping campaigns aimed at reclaiming Japanese-held territory to working throughout Europe and Africa during a six-month humanitarian operations deployment.

Fearless 74 Cmdr. David McAlister tells The Sun Herald that Friday's ceremony gives the Seabees an opportunity to "highlight the accomplishments of the people in the battalion now but also all the people who have been in the battalion since it was formed."

This won't be the first time the battalion has shut its doors. It was deactivated Oct. 31, 1945, following work on Tarawa, Kwajalein and the Berlin Islands. It was re-commissioned Dec. 3, 1966, at the Gulfport Seabee Base.

Among its accolades, NMCB 74 earned the Battle Effectiveness Award 11 times, most recently in 2007.

In addition to serving abroad, the battalion has also been a constant along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the aftermath of hurricanes Camille, Georges and Katrina. Katrina hit in 2005 while NMCB 74 was three months into a deployment, but a small team of personnel was immediately redeployed home to assist in disaster relief. The rest of the battalion soon followed.

"One of the things that I think is unique about NMCB 74 is not only did they contribute in all the different contingencies, but the different types of missions they have had," McAlister said. "They really hit on all the different missions that the Seabees have, whether it's building airfields or the buildup for Iraqi Freedom, and, most recently, disaster recovery."

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