NMCB 62 Alumni Association Guestbook

Here is a note from Jon Scott, the head of the April 2020 Gulfport All Seabee Reunion (which NMCB 62 attends). Received Thu, Mar 12 at 10:08 PM.

"We will not make a decision until our island meeting next Thursday, 19 March. Until then the planning and preparations continue.

Jon" (sent from my iPhone)

Sec Norm says: so we must all wait and see. In these uncertain times, COVID-19, with things changing so rapidly we must error on the side of caution and safety. As soon as they decide and inform me, I'll inform you.

Added: March 13, 2020
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Served in 62 for three years, until my retirement as an EAC , June 1973.

Added: March 6, 2020
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I served with MCB 62 in ‘69 and was at Camp Barnes in Dong Ha. I was in Delta Company and my rate was BU2.

Added: February 7, 2020
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This is an on-going conversation between Bill Hilderbrand, NMCB 62 Life Member, and Secretary Norm about the definition of "Who is a Plank Owner of NMCB 62?. (It is edited)

I think this is a topic to discuss with the reunion group leadership and reach a consensus as to the criteria you want to go by. Certainly everyone present at the commissioning ceremony qualifies. Another group to consider would be anyone who had reported prior to the commissioning date for transfer to the battalion, but were unable for some reason to be present (away at school, on sick leave, emergency leave, TAD elsewhere, etc.). You may also want to consider anyone who reported to the battalion after the commissioning date, but in time to make the first deployment - many of them would have received their orders prior to the commissioning date, but were unable to detach their last duty station and report in time. There were a lot of guys at the CTU finishing their basic Seabee training who then headed to the battalion. Also, with the battalion in homeport for six months before deploying, you may also find some guys who didn’t deploy because they didn’t have enough active duty time left to go on deployment (they were leaving the active Navy) - but that is no reason for them to be denied plank ownership status.
You can make it as simple as you like, or agree on some flexibility.
Just some thoughts. Bill (Hilderbrand, CAPT, CEC, Retied).

See below for the response Captain Hilderbrand received from NHHC
(Naval History and Heritage Command) relative to “plank owner “. Also take a look at the website link he included.

"Plank owner" is a traditional term and is not covered by Navy regulation. The term has been defined in different ways by different Navy units. Originally, this term applied only to crew members present at the ship's first commissioning. Please see information on this tradition on our website at Naval History and Heritage Command - Heritage » Customs and Traditions » Plank Owners.

This is Secretary Norm: NMCB 62 was recommissioned at NCBC, Gulfport on 2 July 1966. Our first deployment left for Vietnam in December 1966 and returned to Gulfport in August 1967. I am in agreement with Captain Hilderbrand regarding who meets the criteria for "NMCB 62 Plank Owner". We will have more member discussion and reach a consensus after the 2020 April reunion.

Added: January 22, 2020
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I wanted to ask Bill Hilderbrand, CAPT, CEC, USN, Retired, two questions, the answers we can put on this website. Captain Hilderbrand is a Life Member of the NMCB 62 Alumni Group. (the conversations are edited).

Hi Bill,

Can you do me a big favor, two actually?

I'm looking for two explanations, which I want to put in our website.

The first is "Why Was NMCB 62 Decommissioned". You have spoken about this at lease twice at our reunion meeting and now I would like you to write it down so it will be preserved.

The second is what is the definition of a Plankowner? NMCB 62 was recommissioned on 2 July 1966 at Gulfport, but with not a full compliment. The first deployment was from Dec 66 to Aug 67. (with a full compliment) My question is: Are the folks who were physically at the recommissioning called "Plankowners" and not the others who were on the 1st deployment? Or, are both considered "Plankowners". Good question. I can't answer it.

Can you put it in the form of two documents. We can work on it for now and come to a conclusion. Then you can sign both using your titles. Do you have fancy paper forms such as used for shellback certificates? Then you can read both of them at our April 2020 Sunday morning meeting, or someone can, your choice. After that they will be historical documents.

Let me know please. Keep safe and warm, thanks, Norm

From: William Hilderbrand
To: Norm Hahn Jan 12, 2020


The SIXTY-TWO reunion group is so very fortunate to have as dedicated a leader as you are - my hat is off to you!! I am going to miss this year’s Gulfport (and NMCB 62) Reunion because Gloria and I will be away on a trip/tour of Greece. I will miss seeing all of you.

On your question about plank-ownership, I have asked RADM(ret) Cox, the head of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, DC to clarify for me whether the Navy has a specific definition of plank-owner, and based on his response I will provide my understanding of who is and who isn’t a plank-owner.

In regard to de-commissioning of a Navy unit, I offer the following:

De-commissioning of a unit is driven by a decision to cancel or consolidate/transfer a mission and/or Navy end strength (manning levels) reductions directed by DoD. When end strength reductions are the cause, the lower number must be met by 30 September of the year specified.

The Navy leadership reviews its manning throughout the Navy to determine how much of the reduction can be accomplished by trimming the manning for individual units and at what point it is more effective to decommission individual units. This is a very complex process as reduction in manning results in reduction in capability and the ability to respond to future events.

If the decision is made to decommission units (ships, Seabee battalions, Seal teams, etc.), the deployment schedules for the various units are reviewed. Units are deployed, getting ready to deploy, or returning from deployment. The focus is on where a unit will be on 30 September.

A deployed unit is generally exempt because it would have to be replaced on-site. Decommissioning a unit about to deploy would result in the loss/waste of thousands of hours and the associated costs of training and effort in preparation for deployment. Choosing a unit recently returned from deployment minimizes the lost effort and cost, and impact on other Navy units. Past performance and accomplishments of a unit is almost never a factor.

I hope this helps. I don’t have any particular letterhead to put this on, but feel free to use it in whatever format best serves your purpose and cite me as your reference.

Bill (Sent from my iPhone)

Added: January 13, 2020
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Quite often I get emails from those whose Dads were Seabees and they are looking for information. Here is the latest example:

On Friday, January 10, 2020, Debbie Higdon wrote:
Dear sir,
My dad is a Seabee from years ago. He is 88 years old now and would like to speak with someone about attending a meeting, etc. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Below is my information.
Please either call me or email me directly and I will get info to my Dad. Thanks so much for your time.
Debbie Higdon. (email address & phone # deleted)

From: Norm Hahn To: Debbie Higdon Cc: Normand Dupuis. Jan 10, 2020.
Dear Betty,
Thank you for your email and your call. It is better if we use email, because we can refer back to them.
There are many current Seabee groups in Florida that meet for lunches and have meetings. I am copying my good friend Normand Dupuis who will help you and your Dad to get in contact with folks in Florida. He also has an outstanding facebook page:
OPERATION SEABEES KNOWLEDGE As I read your email again, I would suggest that you post that on Normand's Operation Seabees Knowledge facebook page.
It is important that your Dad knows the number of his old Seabee Battalion. We have many battalion contact points on our NMCB 62 website. Go here to view the Seabee contacts: (website address deleted) After you have looked at the contact list, feel free to explore the website.
Does your Dad have a copy of his service record? I will attach some information about that for you. You may want to go to the Navy Seabee Veterans of America: (website address deleted) they have a lot of info.
Take some time to look at the websites and also the attachments I'm including. I am the Secretary of the NMCB 62 Alumni Group, and work with the folks in that Battalion. If your Dad was in that Battalion, I can help. If he was not, you will need Normand Dupuis to help him.
If, after you have looked at the attachments, visited the websites and talked to Normand and you still have questions, please give me a call. I'll do my best to assist you. Best regards, Norm.

On Jan 11, 2020, at 9:46 AM, Normand Dupuis wrote:
Norm and Debbie,
Thanks Norm for the compliment and the referral. Debbie, do you have a Facebook account? If you do, I can have replies sent directly to your FB account from anyone that responds to the appeal I post in the SEABEE groups. Otherwise I might miss some because I can't possibly keep tabs on all of them after I've posted for you. If there's no other way I'll send you whatever I can find out by e-mail. I may just start a Facebook group for a Tallahassee SEABEE SWARM myself to begin the process of locating BEES in that area for you. Stand by for more info, Norm Dupuis.

On Saturday, January 11, 2020 Debbie Higdon wrote:
Yes, I do have a Facebook Account.
My name on Facebook is: Deborah Lambert Higdon. If you request me to be your friend I will accept the invitation. Thanks so much! Debbie Higdon.

From: Normand Dupuis To: Debbie Higdon
Cc: Norm Hahn Jan 11, 2020.
Driving now, using cell. Send me a friend request. My profile picture (is) me and another SEABEE posing with an old SEABEE truck with orange trees in the background.

This is Secretary Norm again. Working together we can make things work. CAN DO.

Added: January 11, 2020
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Heading to the Annual Seabee Reunion in Gulfport this year. First time attending and hopefully run into some buddies and tell lies!! That's what old Seabees do!! If anyone knows where, John Weise, "Buck" Bell, Ralph Himes are at??

Added: January 11, 2020
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Master Chief Jarvis Wood will be unable to attend the 2020 Gulfport reunion and speak at our Sunday meeting.

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 11:08:19 AM CST, Jarvis Wood wrote:

Hello Norm,
This is a very difficult email for me to write to you today, but I find it necessary to let you know that I must cancel my plans to attend the 2020 Seabee Reunion. Some health issues have slipped up on me, so I discussed my proposed travel plans with my Doctor for his guidance. He strongly recommended that I not consider such long distance travels due to my current blood clot history and other issues. I sincerely regret having to make this cancellation decision. Diane and I were both looking forward to the proposed trip and attending the Reunion. At 89 years of age, I guess I must accept the fact that some of my normal life styles and routines are going to change. Norm, I'm so sorry to let you down on my speaking at the NMCB 62 meeting, and I hope you will understand. Please accept my apologies. Sincerely,

Secretary Norm emails Master Chief Wood back:

Dear Master Chief Jarvis Wood:
Hi Jarvis,
I am sure sorry to hear that you will be unable to attend the 2020 Gulfport All Seabee Reunion and also speak at our NMCB 62 Sunday morning meeting. However, your health and longevity come first and you are most wise to heed the advice of your Doctor.
I will notify the appropriate folks that you will be unable to attend and will include these emails in that notification.
We all do understand. I'll mail you a copy of the DVD we make of all the photos we will take at that reunion.
Keep close to home and continue to keep healthy. Best regards, Norm. NMCB 62 Alumni Group secretary

Added: December 11, 2019
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I just emailed this to Cathy Titler at the Gulfport Historical Foundation so she could put it in the Can Do magazine and also on their website. I want to make sure all of you see it and have time to plan for this reunion. See our website link #1 for more info. You can make your hotel reservation NOW (and you should't wait). The reunion is casual dress and spouses are always welcome. Remember to bring your camera. Plan to depart Monday. (Here is the email I sent her).

Hi Cathy,
I can't seem to find that I emailed you our reunion notice for April 2020. So, I guess I didn't. Here it is:

NMCB 62 (in conjunction with the 2020 Gulfport All Seabee Reunion).
23 - 26 April 2020 at Gulfport, MS. Our 0930 Sunday morning annual meeting speaker will be the 5th Master Chief of the Seabees Jarvis Wood who was the Senior Chief of Dets Buford and Barracuda in Nam. He will be introduced by Regimental Master Chief Price Richardson who was also a Minuteman CM3 during that same time period. Norm Hahn, 715-379-8482. More information is on our website (address removed)
I know this is a little long, but it's necessary to get the word out. I would be thankful if you could publish it all in the Can Do and on your website.
Let me know please. Happy Holidays and Many thanks, Norm

Added: December 11, 2019
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Minuteman from '73 - 75; Builder, Delta Co.
Boot camp Jan 73 @ San Diego
A School March 73 @ Port Hueneme
Joined MCB 62 July 73 @ Gulfport
Deployed to Guam & worked Camp Security, Fleet HQ, Polaris Point EM Club. Nickname "Red" (along with several other "Reds")
Detachment Atsugi & worked barracks rehab.
Detachment Edzell & worked on hanger rehab, Comm center expansion (downward), ball diamonds, EM Club rehab.
Discharged '75

Was federal employee in 2004 and volunteered for Katrina relief to Gulfport. Hardly recognized the place. Spent 30 days providing basic shelter to survivors. Was able to briefly get on to CBC Gulfport for a quick self-tour.

Bumped into a few Battalion-mates over the years in odd places. Always good.

Best wishes, Bros.

Added: November 10, 2019
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