SeaBee memorial sought for National Cemetery

In Jefferson City

Local Navy Seabee veterans are working to place a monument identical to this one at the Jefferson City National Cemetery.

Local Navy Seabee veterans are working to place a monument identical to this one at the Jefferson City National Cemetery. Photo by The Associated Press.

When civilian construction workers were slaughtered by Japanese forces while working on a Pacific island during World War II, the U.S. Navy decided it was time to use armed and trained sailors to carry out construction work.

The Construction Battallion is more commonly known as the phonetic,

“Seabees.”

The Navy’s Seabees played a critical role in the world war and saw a resurgence in the Vietnam War.

“Veterans know who Seabees are; civilian people may not,” veteran Dave Kurre said.

Most soldiers and Marines in the field have some story to tell about bridges, roads, bases and other infrastructure the specialized unit provided, Kurre said.

To recognize the heritage of the Seabees in facilitating other sailors, soldiers and Marines to carry out their mission, a Seabee Memorial has been approved for placement in National Cemeteries.

Kurre has helped coordinate the memorials to be placed in all three Missouri National Cemeteries.

The first was placed at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis in May 2011 and the Springfield National Cemetery has a dedication set for May 2012.

Now attention has turned to the Jefferson City National Cemetery, where a location already has been approved for the 1,700-pound granite marker to be placed near the flagpole on the McCarty Street side.

The first local formal fundraiser will be 3-9 p.m. Feb. 20 at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, where a percentage of sales will go toward the $1,400 cost.

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