Broadside Moments – The Seabee Inspection


This Broadside Moment was sent to us by Erik Gilliam.

Since the inception of the Underwater Construction Teams the personnel who have made up the Teams have been a cut above your typical Seabee. So when it has come to personnel inspections the standard that the Teams have portrayed has been one of excellence. This inspection related event took place in 1980 as the members of UCT-2 were to participate in a “greens inspection”. Many may not be familiar with the utility greens that Seabees wore years ago. Think of them as BDUs that were just one color.

As the morning of the inspection dawned the members of UCT-2 arrived at the command and donned their starched and pressed greens. Belt buckles and tips, along with hat devices, received a final polishing and boots got a last rub with a buffing cloth. The command Senior Chief took a critical look at haircuts and beards (there was a time) to ensure that all were squared away. As all of this was taking place one of the Chiefs was tearing apart his locker looking for something. It soon came to light that he had left his inspection polished pair of boots at home. There was not enough time to go back and get the boots and the only boots he had at the Team were a pair that were definitely, “work boots”. Although presentable these boots were not inspection ready. A wide and varied collection of colorful metaphors emanated from the Chief’s mouth as he put on his work boots. Looking around he spied two of the larger member of UCT-2, the HM and one of the CMs standing near by and called them over and told them to follow him into the shop area. The Chief gave a can of gloss black spray paint to the CM and told him to shake up the can. The Chief spread some newspapers out on the shop floor, stood in the center of the newspaper and had the HM apply masking tape to the lower part of his bloused pants. Taking the can of spray paint from the CM the Chief proceeded to spray paint his boots. As the paint started to dry, the Chief had his helpers remove the masking tape from his pants. Then the Chief had these two large Petty Officers lift him up and carry him outside to where the rest of the Team was forming up. The Chief directed his two bearers to put him next to the other Chiefs in the last rank of the formation.


In short order the inspection commenced. And not too much later (it) concluded without incident. True to form, that day the members of UCT-2 passed another personnel inspection with high marks. Since he only had to go from Parade Rest to Attention and back again a few times, the Chief was able to move in such a way that the paint on his boots did not crack. Once the inspection was over and the Team was dismissed the Chief walked back into the Team building – with paint cracking and flaking off his boots with every step.

Thanks, Erik!

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  1. An excellent description of the old days.

    While I wasn’t UCT, I am a recently retired seabee and can tell you that the UCT still gets some of the more driven and motivated seabees. I do have to disagree with the “cut above” comment. arrgggghh

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