The current Builder (BU) rating came about as the result of the U.S. Navy’s revamping of the rating system in 1948. With the redesignation of the Carpenter’s Mate (CM) rating to Damage Controlman (DC), the Navy had to reclassify the 14 CM service ratings that had been promulgated over the years. One of these, the Carpenter’s Mate Construction Battalion Builder, or CMCBB, became today’s Builder rating.

Builders are part of the Naval Construction force, which includes Sailors from six other ratings: Construction Electrician, Construction Mechanic, Engineering Aide, Equipment Operator, Steelworker, and Utilitiesman. At the start of 2016, nearly 2400 Sailors were working as Builders in the U.S. Navy.

While there are several methods for Sailors wishing to pursue a career as a Builder to enter the rating, one of the most common is to attend the Class “A” Technical School held at the Naval Construction Training Center in Gulfport, Mississippi (after completion of Recruit training). Following the school’s 14 weeks of classes, Sailors are likely to be assigned to either to a Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) or an Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB). The NMCBs are based at Gulfport and Port Hueneme, California, while the ACBs are found in San Diego and Little Creek, Virginia. As the name suggests, the NMCBs are indeed mobile; they operate on a rotational basis between the homeports and overseas billets at places such as Guam, Okinawa, or Spain.

The Navy’s two Amphibious Construction Battalions trace their origins to mid-World War II and the commissioning of the 104th Naval Construction Battalion at Camp Peary in Williamsburg, Virginia on 16 July 1943. Between that time and its eventual deactivation in December 1945, the 104th was responsible for several land-based building projects, such as an airfield at Los Negros in the Admiralties (an archipelago off the coast of New Guinea) to a Naval Operating Base on Leyte.

Reactivated in 1947, the unit began its mission of Amphibious construction and was assigned the job of assembling and placing pontoon structures, rehabilitating beaches, and developing harbors, as well as training reservists. The distinct nature of the work of the 104th and subsequently the 105th Naval Construction Battalions led the Chief of Naval Operations to rename them Amphibious Construction Battalions One and Two.

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