Naval Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 553

John Loring Gould, CBMU 553

 Photos (explanations below)

: The 552 and 553 CBMU, (both posted to the Green Islands for a year)
Contact: Angela & Bill Kroft, 1005 Colonial Drive, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464, TEL:  884-1576


The original Seabee Battalions were 1200 man forces, selected and trained as a unit to survey, land, carve roads, create airstrips, and develop camps and facilities for naval, marine, and air combat units.  Most were posted to the Pacific where their remarkable flexibility and creativity was essential to island combat.

As time went on, however, the need arose for smaller, more specialized outfits, but still carrying the now-legendary "Can Do" Seabee spirit.  One off-shoot was the Construction Battalion Maintenance Units (CBMU) which were trained to provide public works functions at advanced bases.

As the 93rd Seabees prepared to leave the Green Islands for the Philippines, CBMUs 552 and 553 arrived to provide continuing maintenance for the remaining combat and administrative units.

CBMU 553 was organised at Camp Peary, transferred to Hueneme, and departed Hueneme on January 14, 1944.  The first assignment was Nanomea, Ellice Island where they arrived February 2, 1944.

On July 3, they were on Nissan, Green Islands.  By February, 1945, the dismantling of the Green Islands Naval Advanced Base was beginning, and it was officially decommissioned on March 1.  The Green Islands facilities, serviced by CBMU 552, continued to house and serve New Zealand Air Force and other outfits until after the end of the war.

CBMU 553 followed the 93rd to Samar on May 1.  The unit was inactivated September 25, 1945 and its few remaining members transferred to NCB 100.

Pictures left by John Gould


John Loring Gould may have been the outfit's photographer.  His photographs - those displayed here and another collection deposited with the Seabee Museum in Hueneme - appear to have been the makings of a CBMU 553 cruise book.  For some reason - perhaps the small size of the unit or the quality of the photos, the book never materialized. has succeeded in sharpening some of the group shots.  Text explanations and identifications for the photos is below.

Descriptions are as written on back of photo.  Photos 58 through 72 do not have any written explanation.  Row listings are not given either here or on the original photos unless specifically indicated.


  1. Duncan





  1. Connelly MM 2/c

Timmons MM 3/c

          Stout MM 2/c

          Rodriquez S 2/c


  1. Bickel






  1. Burke                            Jernigan

Genis                                       Mosley




  1. Slaytoin




  1. Peckett                          Sheehan

Owens                           Stanley

Schwaab                        Layhill

          Mazolic                         Cirko

          Barber                           Hansen


  1. Suit                                Parry

Pollack                          Neese

Healey                           Gazo

Jacobs                           Wilde

          Soeller                           Strickland


  1. Top Row                        Center Row                    Bottom Row

Slayton                          Shaeffer                         Simone

          Webb                                      McGhee                        Sember

          Scranton                        Platt (W.O.)                  Randall (Chief)

          Owens                           Purcell                           Hopper

          Shaw                             Webber                         Honaker

          Taylor                           Hopper                          Junior Blitchard

          Lapete                                                                  Gibson


  1. Huminski                       Roussel

Jentszch                        Mills

          Fane                              Geeseland

          Wright                           Walters

          Wimmer                        Rauer


  1.  Mudge                          G.D. Fisher

Chilson                          Spannier

          Welch                            Tickell

          MacLaughlin                 Sapprette

          Starr                              Savarino

          Hess                               Scollo


  1.  Chief Warrant Officer A. C. Platt and “Muscles” Schwabb

Xmas ‘44


  1.   Arnold S 1/c

  Fox MM 2/c

On front sign reads “Tonite  Double Feature  Sundown & Coney Island


  1.   553 Chiefs

  Front Row                             Rear Row

  Patterson CCM          Beaseley   CEM

            Randall CMOMM      Andresen  CCM

            Carmichell  CSF                   Cahill  CMM

            Heilman  CMM           Norman  CSK

            Fane  CCM                 Jensen  CCM

            Burke                          Franey  CCM


  1.   J. L. Snow Y 1/c

  Stevens  S 2/c

            Burthwick  Y 3/c

             Menzel  Y 3/c


  1.   Bubb  SF 2/c

Mallgren  SF 3/c

          Martin SF 3/c

          Pasatorek  S 1/c


  1.   Greco  S 1/c

Farmer EM 2/c

          Farley EM 3/c

          Rossi S 1/c

          Kerr EM 2/c

          Nather  EM 3/c


  1.   Top Row                      Bottom Row

Fishman                        Rysko

          Williams                        Fazzare

          Powell                           Cornachionne

          “Lou” Chief Yachanovich   Paras

          Donaghue “Jack”                  Arnold

          Goldstein “Goldie”       Robinson


  1.  Top Row                       Kneeling

Greco                            Henry

          Beaseley Chief              Farley

          Farmer                          Cirko


  1.  Spencer SK 1/c            Norman CSK


  1.   Dawson





  1.   Hurst SP 2/c

Stackpole BM 1/c

          Simmer SP 2/c


  1.   Warrant Officer Jay L. Reed

Ensign Gerald A. Hickey (our “Skipper”)

          Lt. (j.g.)) Paul E. White

          Ens. Donald E. Johnson

          Warrant Officer Adriance C. Platt


  1.  Larson SK 3/c

Zink SK 2/c

          Morgan CM 2/c

          Oakie           CM 1/c


  1.   Luccier                                  Reis  CM 3/c

Hughes                                    Eisenman  MM 3/c (Arty)

          Franey  CCM                         Scribner

          Sevelley  MM 2/c                    Whitney

          Morgan S 1/c




  1.   Sayring

De Backer





  1.  Harris                                    Notches

Nel                                          Weigher

          Reinhard                                 Schein


  1.   LaCroix  S 2/c

Metcalf  S 1/c

          Koenig  CM 3/c


  1.  Zalad                                      Bealer

Peretta                                    Barber

          Mosley                                     Sheehan


  1.   Macklin                                Somasky

Cahil                                       Putz

          Martin E                                 “Porky”


  1.   Meet “the gang”

   Xmas ‘44


  1.  Another of the “gang”

   Xmas ‘44


  1.   Seal  -- Passed by Naval Censor


  1.   Green Island


  1.   Green Islands  Native Village


  1.   Interior of Church in the town of Guiuan on Samar


  1.   Green Island


  1.   Home was never like this


  1.   Some of the boys at work during high tide in a coral pit.  Green Islands


  1.  Green Islands  Shot taken from the cliff of a deserted hut


  1.   Father Lebel


  1.   Jack’s Outfit’s Christmas card.  Jack designed the center


  1.   Goetz at the beach.  Jan. 1945


  1.   One of many similar chow halls  R.S. 3149


  1.   Jan 1945


  1.   Oct 1944


  1.   Oct 1944


  1.   Oct 1944


  1.   Nanumea  (sent by Mrs. J. Guimette)


  1.   Nanumea  (sent by Mrs. J. Guimette)


  1.   Nanumea  (sent by Mrs. J. Guimette)


  1.   Nanumea  (sent by Mrs. J. Guimette)


  1.   Nanumea  (sent by Mrs. J. Guimette)


  1.   Filipino Children


  1.   Green Islands Native Church


  1.   Green Islands  Note the bashful belle in the center


  1.  Green Islands


  1.   Outdoor Shower