After nearly 50 years of active service, the fearless Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (N.M.C.B.) 74 decommissioned Friday. This is the second time the unit has dissolved since WWII due the downsizing of the United States military.
It was a sea of white as members of the N.M.C.B. 74 marched out as a team for the last time. Lieutenant Commander Julie Moss has served as the N.M.C.B. 74's Supply Officer for the last 18 months. She says the decommissioning ceremony is bittersweet. Moss says, "I'm sure I'll be bored at my next job, wishing I was back here with all of the camaraderie and the expeditionary evolutions that we do."
The N.M.C.B. 74's decommissioning is part of a naval restructuring plan initiated almost three years ago. Moss also says, "The decommissioning of the N.M.C.B. 74 is just a great day to celebrate the past members, the current members, and just the future of the Seabees."
Retired Senior Chief, Charles McCormick, served with this battalion when it was commissioned in 1966 during the Korean War. He says the ceremony was a special reunion. McCormick says, "Oh wonderful, wonderful seeing a lot of old friends, old shipmates, old commanding officers."
Gordon Schley, the oldest 74 Seabee member present, traveled all the way from Seattle, Washington to be at Friday's ceremony. At 92 years of age, Schley's favorite memory is the respect he received as a commander. Schley says, "Oh, I think maybe the cooperation I got from all of my enlisted men and junior officers. Yeah, it was great."
During the ceremony, the battalion paused to remember and honor its fallen officers and presented the current commander's family with flowers. Jennifer McAlister, the Commander’s wife, says, "I'm glad we could be here to support him and the battalion. It was very nice. I certainly don’t ever, ever expect that sort of recognition. It was very nice."
The majority of the Seabees in 74 will remain in Gulfport, while others will be transferred around the world.