Moreell, Ben

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united statesNavyAdmiral

Moreell, Ben, born 14-09-1892 in Salt Lake City, Utah, was the chief of the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Yards and Docks and of the Civil Engineer Corps. Best known to the American public as the Father of the Navy’s Seabees, Admiral Ben Moreell’s life spanned eight decades, two world wars, a great depression and the evolution of the United States as a superpower. He was a distinguished Naval Officer, a brilliant engineer, an industrial giant and articulate national spokesman. As a young civil engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington University, St. Louis, he chose to defend his country by joining the ranks of the Navy during World War I. During the war, he was stationed in the Azores, there getting to know an Assistant Secretary of the Navy named Franklin Roosevelt. Rear Admiral Ben Moreell determined to activate, organize, and man Navy construction units. On 28-12-1941, he requested specific authority to carry out this decision and on 05-01-1942, he gained authority from the Bureau of Navigation to recruit men from the construction trades for assignment to a Naval Construction Regiment composed of three Naval Construction Battalions. On 05-03-1942 permission was granted for the construction battalions to use the name “Seabees” . More than 325.000 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, gasoline storage tanks, and Quonset huts for warehouses, hospitals, and housing.  They often operated under fire and frequently were forced to take part in the fighting to defend themselves and their construction projects. In the  Pacific Theater they built 111 major airstrips and 441 piers, tanks for the storage of 100m gallons of fuel, housing for 1.5m men and hospitals for 70,000 patients.  This was the beginning of the renowned Seabees, who obtained their designation from the initial letters of Construction Battalion. Admiral Moreell personally furnished them with their official motto: Construimus, Batuimus — “We Build, We Fight.” Admiral Moreell’s life was punctuated by accomplishments, awards, and well-earned recognition. He was honored 12 times with doctoral degrees, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and was named one of the 10 men who contributed most to the advancement of construction methods in the United States between 1925 and 1975

Death and burial ground of Moreell, Ben.

. Admiral Ben Moreell died old age 85, on 30-07-1978 in Elk Grove, California and is buried with his wife Clara, born Klinksick, who died age 68, in 1958, on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 4. In Section 4, are also buried Brigade General. Commander 99th Artillery Division, Frederick Black, the Flyer Ace Marion Carl Major General, Commander 22ndRegiment on D-Day, Charles Lanham and General, Commander Army Ground Forces, Ben “Yohoo” Lear


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