North Tonawanda in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
U.S. Navy Seabees - Where They Served
The Origin of the Seabees
The Origin of the SEABEES Insignia & Name
by Frank J. Lafrate Originator
Early in January of 1942, while working as a plan file clerk at the Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island, Civilian and Naval engineers would come in and out of my office to study naval installation drawings. As they studied these drawings, I studied them and sketched their caricatures.
One day a Navy Lieutenant came in. He was the officer-in-charge of some 250 recruits who had been brought in to the newly established "Construction Battalions.” This Lieutenant had heard of my cartooning, and asked me if I could produce a "Disney Type” Insignia that would identify and represent this new Battalion. These men would undergo military and construction training, and follow the marines ashore. They would not be an offensive group but could defend them selves if they had to.
I first thought of a beaver, the builder. But some research at the library told me that a beaver in trouble would turn tail and run. So the Beaver was out. Then I thought of a bee … the busy worker who doesn’t bother you … unless you bother
After the idea was established, the rest came easy. I animated the bee: gave him a white hat to make him "Navy" tools to show his construction talents, and a tommy gun to show his fighting ability. I made him third class petty officer with the appropriate insignia on each arm, such as machinist's mate, a carpenter's mate, and a gunner s mate. On each wrist, the C.E.C insignia showed that he was part of the Navy Civil Engineer's Corps. Finally, on the outer circle of the insignia, I put the letter Q for Quonset.
Now, what would this group be called ? "Men of the Construction Battalions” was a little awkward. I already had the bee for these men who worked at sea. Putting the two ideas together, the name … SEABEES was born.
The insignia drawing took about three hours on a Sunday afternoon. The next morning I showed it to the officer in charge, who showed it to the Captain, who sent it off to Washington. Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief, Bureau of Yards & Docks, Chief of Civil Engineers was about to start a nationwide campaign - and he saw in my sketch recruiting appeal. He requested only one revision in the insignia: that the Q be changed to a howser rope, for national recognition. And today. this is how we recognize that tough and talented group
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Military • War, Vietnam • War, World II.
Location. 43° 2.333′ N, 78° 53.217′ W. Marker is in North Tonawanda, New York, in Niagara County. Marker is on River Road (New York State Route 384) north of Wheatfield Street, on the left when traveling north. Located in Raymond P. Klimek Veterans Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: North Tonawanda NY 14120, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. In Memory of Joseph E. Darlak, SKIc (a few steps from this marker); In Memory of Stephan Butski, U.S.M.C. (a few steps from this marker); Navy Seabees World War II Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Navy Seabees Vietnam Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Island X-8 NSVA (within shouting distance of this marker); Massacre On Wake Island (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S. Navy Seabee Veterans (within shouting distance of this marker); Combat Wounded Veterans (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Tonawanda.
Also see . . .
1. U.S. Navy Personnel Command - Seabees. (Submitted on December 13, 2020, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
2. Seabee (Wikipedia). (Submitted on December 13, 2020, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 12, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 43 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 12, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.