U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Port Hueneme, CA

If bulldozers are your thing, and exotic, impossible construction sites fascinate you, this is the destination for you. The Seabees are the U.S. Navy equivalent of the Army Engineers. They are combat qualified sailors who work alongside their fellow seamen to build piers, runways, hospitals, temporary bases, and whatever else the Navy needs. One example: During WWII they built 111 airstrips on six continents and had battalions operating on almost every Pacific Island during the campaign to defeat Japan.

All that and more is detailed inside this museum with thematic exhibits that include life sized reconstructions and scale models of some of their more difficult projects. There are bulldozers and trucks and countless tools and small weapons on display. Dioramas incorporate heavy equipment (some of it battle scarred) with mannequins and landscapes to transport you back in time. Be sure to see the exhibits on their use of underwater diving equipment.

“A Seabee is a soldier, in a Navy uniform, with Marine training, doing the work of a civilian, getting W.P.A. wages,” says one period poster on display, and that about says it all. There is an excellent gift shop with numerous one-of-a-kind souvenirs to memorialize your visit.

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