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Oct.1,2010,marks the10-year anniver-ary of the establishment of Naval Baseentura County, the official date that Na-al Air Station Point Mugu and Construc-ion Battalion Center Port Hueneme com-ined under a single commander.In recognition of the anniversary, Theighthouse is publishing these
Lookingack” items that detail the history of thewo bases leading up to their unified com-and and that recall the major news of theast 10 years.
•To celebrate the 50th anniversary of peration Deep Freeze, the U.S. NavyeabeeMuseuminPortHuenemeopenednew exhibition titled,
Seabees on Ice:ntarctica,1947-1993.”MuseumCuratorKim Crowell wrote this piece at that time,but it was never published.
By Kim Crowell
Second of three parts
In order to detect crevasses, Seabeessed equipment, primitive by today’s sen-itive technology, to pick out a safe routehrough the ice fields. More than once,hey failed to detect any danger. Richard. Williams, CD3, USN, a heavy equip-ent driver of the MCB (Special), wasilledwhenhisD8Caterpillarfellthroughbridgethathadbeenplacedoveracrackn the ice at McMurdo Sound.A few weeks later, tractor driver Max. Kiel fell victim to a huge crevasse alsohile driving a D8 tractor.In memory of these men, the Air Oper-ting Facility at McMurdo Sound wasamed Williams Air Operating Facility,nd the airstrip at Little America V be-ame Max Kiel Airfield.Even in the final years of OperationDeep Freeze, Seabees feared undetectedcrevassesandweakiceastheyexperiencedmore than one close call with men, wom-en and equipment falling into crevasses.Tasked with the construction and sup-port of the United States’scientific basesin Antarctica, the first battalion took re-sponsibility for getting 20,000 measure-ment tons of materiel and equipment tothe frozen continent. Loaded on 13 ships,theserawmaterialsemergedfromicyfoun-dations to materialize as the base stationsat the Bay of Whales and on Ross Islandin the first summer season — November1955 to January 1956 — while three morewere built up in the second summer sea-son.RossIslandandMcMurdoSound,onceknown only as the location of RobertScott’slasthutbeforehistragictrektotheSouth Pole, are the northern-most pointsof the Antarctica continent. Originally,Little America V was slated to provideprimary logistical support for the U.S. ef-fortsinAntarctica,butMcMurdoproveditself better suited for runways and ashorter flight to New Zealand’s South Is-land. The first Seabees to arrive at HutPoint on McMurdo Bay slept in tents insub-freezing temperatures, building per-manent facilities of plywood and alumi-num nearly round the clock. McMurdoservedasthejump-off pointfortheSouthPole Station during the second summerseason and as the primary logistical sup-
The grand opening of a Wounded WarriorCenter in the BeeFitGym at Port Hueneme takes placeat 1 p.m. The center is designed toaid in the fitness and rehabilitationof active-duty personnel who havebeen injured in combat.
TheHarlem AmbassadorsProfessional ShowBasketball Team performs at 7p.m. in the Mugu Gym. The showis free to all with base access, buttickets are required and can bepicked up at the Mugu or Warfieldgyms.
ANational Day of PrayerBreakfast will beserved from 6:15 to6:45 a.m. in the Port HuenemeGalley. A program with the theme,
Prayer for Such a Time as This”starts at 6:50 a.m. Information:Page 6.
DOWN AND DIRTY:
The annual NavalConstruction TrainingCenter Mud Runstarts at 12:30 p.m. at the NCTCCommand, Port Hueneme. Checkin begins at 10:30 a.m. Pre-register online at www.active.com.Cost is $10 for military personnel,$20 for civilians. Information: 989-7940.
PHOTO COURTESY U.S. NAVY SEABEE MUSEUM
Seabees compact snow for roads to connect the numerous scientific bases throughoutAntarctica. The Seabees had a presence on the frozen continent from 1955 to 1993.
Seabees face hidden dangers on the ice
2002: Construction began in April onhe$11.5millionNAVAIRWeaponsDivi-sion Kenneth I. Lichti Range OperationsCenter at Point Mugu.The facility provided an additional30,000squarefeettotheexistingBuilding3complex.Itincludednewcontrolroomsto integrate and control the live assetsnd simulations from laboratories andangesthroughouttheNAVAIRteamandfrom the fleet,”according to the April 25,2002, Lighthouse.
EventhoughtheColdWarisoverandtheevilempirehasfallen,weneedtokeepreminding ourselves to be vigilant,” U.S.Rep. Elton Gallegly, 23rd District, said atthetime.
Westillliveinaveryhostileanddangerous world. If anyone ever doubtedthat, I think that all changed on Septem-ber 11.”Gallegly pointed out that Point Muguand the Weapons Division
have playeda vital role in years past and are going toplay an even more vital role in years tocome.”
I don’t think there’s a project that willplay a more important role in the futureasfarasournationalsecurityisconcernedas this new facility,”he said.
2002: NAVAIR Weapons Division gets more space
SEE ANTARCTICA, PAGE 25
The military title of Laurie Vezi-na was incorrect in the April 15edition of The Lighthouse. She is achief construction mechanic.