What's the Hardest Job in the US Navy Seabees

By John R. O’Brien

Vietnam Veteran


By Norman Rachels

I contacted John O’Brien after finding his card at the Phoenix VA Hospital on March 7th 2017. We had many long conversations before I met John on March 25th, 2017 while attending my first meeting of the Navy Seabee Veterans of America Island X-5 AZ. He was serving as the Island Secretary & Treasurer and had displayed a collage of Seabee pictures at the VA that I happened upon and found his card.

After the Island X-5 meeting, I went to his home and we shared our “War Stories” for a few hours during which he gave me a copy of his book. I began reading it as soon as I returned home and found it difficult to put it down until I had read it all the way through.

His story begins with his grandson asking the question, “Pop-Pop, what’s the hardest job in the Seabees?” He then goes into the history of MCB-10 in the 1st Chapter. The remaining 15 chapters covers his two tours of service in Vietnam and includes lots of pictures with vivid details and explanations.

In the last chapter you may be surprised to learn what he considers to be one of the most difficult jobs in all the Armed Forces at war.

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His book is an official part of the US Navy Seabee Museum collection. It’s also still available on Amazon.