Marine Major Tells
Battalion of Seabees
'Over-worked, Underfed, Cussed at
. . .The Drinks Will Be On Me'
By SGT. JOHN L. DUKE
Stars and Stripes Staff Writer
OKINAWA - "The drinks will be on me," said the marine to the Seabees, and that offer - good anywhere at any time - topped off one of the most unique commendations ever received by an American unit..
The marine was Major C.C.Campbell, commander of marine air base here. The object of his admiration was a Naval Construction Battalion Maintenance unit. His citation read:
"You have seen this airfield grow from a wrecked mudhole to a fair-to-good all-weather airfield. You have enjoyed much company; mostly Japs. You have fought against the elements; lack of manpower; lack of equipment; in general, the lack of the facilities that make a job pleasant and easily done.
"You have been shelled, bombed, rain-soaked, wind-blown, dusted, disgusted, over-worked, underfed, cussed at and praised.
'The dirtiest details'
"You have been given assignments to unaccustomed duty. You have been given the dirtiest details and work that should have been performed by others; you have slept in mud and filth, if and when you got a chance. You worked on your own and improved your surroundings after everyone else's had been completed, and in most cases by you.
"You worked all night on the air strip for the first flight of the group against the Japs, and got the hell bombed out of you for your pains. You have handled every drop of gasoline used on this airfield, and you did much of it under
shelling and attacks of the enemy.
"You have helped with the ammunition, which was not your duty. You kept the field lighting operational, when it was bombed or shelled out, and without waiting for the end of the attack. You put other people's galleys and facilities into operation when you should have been working on your own.
"You've given your all to the success of the operation on this island. You've assisted others in gaining medals and glory, much of which would not have been attained without you.
"Heroes? Hell, no. Just Seabees doing the job for which you enlisted, and wanting to get back to normal living as soon as possible.
"Telling you in words how much I appreciate the ...work you have done without complaint is beyond my limited vocabulary... I shall consider it an honor for any man of your unit, who, if he sees me, wherever it may be, to step forth and offer a handshake. The drinks will be on me."
BACK to my tribute to Buddy and his pals.