Commander Ward W. de Groot III, CEC, USN
In March 1966 Commander deGroot was the first commanding Officer of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 58, a new Seabee battalion being commissioned for service in Vietnam.
On a snowy morning on the grinder at CBC Davisville Captain deGroot addressed his Seabees, his remarks concluded with “together we will make MCB 58 truly great.” From that moment forward MCB 58 has been fondly known as the “Great Fifty-Eight.”
Captain deGroot’s other Seabee assignments include Commanding Officer both the Naval Construction Battalion Center and the 20th Naval Construction Regiment in Gulfport, MS. His personal decorations include two awards of the Legion of Merit, two awards of the Bronze Star with Combat V, and the meritorious Service Medal.
Commander Charles J. Mathews, CEC, USN
On May 31, Commander Charles J. Mathews, CEC, USN, relieved Commander DeGroot as commanding officer.
Captain Mathews received his commission in the Navy in 1953 and was stationed in Morocco with NMCB 6.
His distinguished war time career included two tours in Vietnam. He served as transportation officer in Saigon in 1964 and returned to Vietnam in 1968 with Seabees of the Great 58, as their commanding officer.