Desert Battalion Decommissions after Seven Decades of Service

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 17, known as the Desert Battalion, decommissioned Sept. 28, after seven decades of service.

The decommissioning of NMCB 17 marked the final Naval Construction Force (NCF) decommissioning for the fiscal year.

The currents of transition that are running through the NCF were specifically felt by NMCB 17 as the battalion came together to perform this final ceremony.

NCF has seen similar fluctuations before, transitioning from a force of more than 250,000 Seabees during World War II, to one of only 3,300 Seabees in the late ’40s before the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War. It was in 1945 that NMCB 17 was decommissioned for the first time, only to be recommissioned as a Reserve battalion in 1962 in support of the Vietnam War. Since then, the battalion has supported Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Today’s NCF stands at just over 6,500 Seabees, combined active and Reserve. While NMCB 17 has been decommissioned, the remaining eight active detachments will be reassigned to other battalions.

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Press release, Image: US Navy