Navy “Seabees” were always stationed alongside the Marines…
Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.
Date of birth: Jan. 15, 1925
Dates of service: June 25, 1943 to March 20, 1946
Hometown: Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: Europe and the Pacific
Unit and specialty: 114th Construction Battalion (“Seabees”), 146th Seabees and the 86th Seabees
After discharge: Grand Junction, Colo.
In his words: Navy “Seabees” were always stationed alongside the Marines. As such, Bradburn went through Marine basic training. One duty of a Seabee was to protect the Marines in addition to performing construction in conflict areas.
“My greatest fear was not the Germans or the Japanese, of which I had become acquainted, but drowning in one of the oceans after my ship had been torpedoed by the enemy.”
While sailing through the Atlantic, he said they dodged Nazi subs until they landed in Cherbourg, France. Shortly after arriving in France, the 114th was split into three units.
Bradburn was shipped back to the states. From there he was placed in the 86th Seabees and sent to the Pacific. The ship’s course included Hawaii, Eniwetok, Mog Mog and finally Okinowa.
It was there, he said, that they were told they were being prepped for the taking of Japan. His battalion was getting ready to ship out when the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb.
“Many people protested the bomb today but it actually saved the lives of many Japanese, who were ordered to fight to the death and never surrender, as well as many Americans who would have died in the assault.” Bradburn said.
World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail: