This page is dedicated to my Dad, Adolph F. Glatz, Jr, a member of the 75th Seabees. Although my Dad won't talk much about his war experiences, I do know that if it weren't for the Seabees, many of the B29's would not have had runways to fly to and from, thus the reason my Dad's page is here amongst the B29's.


Adolph F. Glatz, Jr. - 1942


Seabees their simple motto tells the story: "We build, we fight". From the island hopping of World War II and the cold of Korea, to the jungles of Vietnam and the mountains of Bosnia, the Seabees have built entire bases, bulldozed and paved thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplished a myriad of construction projects. In December 1941, with an eye on the developing storm clouds across both oceans, Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks, recommended establishing Naval Construction Battalions. With the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entrance into the war, he was given the go-ahead.

The earliest Seabees were recruited from the civilian construction trades and were placed under the leadership of the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps. Because of the emphasis on experience and skill rather than on physical standards, the average age of Seabees during the early days of the war was 37.


More than 325,00 men served with the Seabees in World War II, fighting and building on six continents and more than 300 islands. In the Pacific, where most of the construction work was needed, the Seabees landed soon after the Marines and built major airstrips, bridges, roads, warehouses, hospitals, gasoline storage tanks and housing.



I know from my Dad's photos that he was stationed in the Philippines and some of the photos are marked Bouganville. He talks about building roads, runways out of sea shells, and housing before the arrival of the troops.

The Seabees are trained in military tactics and were to engage in combat should the occasion arise, but he does not talk of this.

The sign in the photo on the right reads:

So when we reach the "Isle of Japan"
With our caps at a Jaunty tilt
We'll enter the city of Tokyo
On the roads that the Seabees built.

According to the Navy's enlistment poster, they wanted men with construction experience and they wanted men between the ages of 17 and 50. The poster also read, "Here is a real OPPORTUNITY for two-fisted, red-blooded Americans to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with the combatant forces in the SEABEES, the newest arm of Uncle Sam's Navy."

When the war broke out in Pearl Harbor, my Dad went to to the Army to enlist. They found out he was color blind, and refused to take him. He then tried the Marines and finally the Navy. (After failing the first time on the color blind test, he tried to guess the colored numbers in the test hoping to get lucky - to no avail). The Navy told him that they could not take him either, but that they were starting up something new, construction crews, and that they would accept him - color blind and all. He enlisted on the spot, but had to wait 3 months until they had the Seabees and their battalions ready to go.

The enlistment period was for the duration of the war and salaries for these positions ranged from $54-$126 per month and included housing (the jungle), food (dried beef and powdered milk), clothing (it was too hot to want much), transportation (PT boats, planes and ships) and medical and dental care (who had the time to worry about that).

Here is a photo of my Dad taken in 1998. He really was a two-fisted, red-blooded American who I am very proud to call, Father!

My Dad passed away May 7, 2015.

Sallyann Wagoner

 

 

He