Owen B. Abbey

Owen Brucker Abbey

Posted on May 30, 2011 by admin


Owen Brucker Abbey served in the US Navy with the Seabees (Electricians Mate) during WWII.  In his 1943 Bluejackets Manual he recorded his unit as 140 NCBN PLT3 CO “B”.

Owen B. Abbey

Bootcamp was in Great Lakes. Then combat training at Camp Lejeune. And another base in Rhode Island. Then to Port Hueneme for deployment.


The 140th NCB was transferred from Camp Peary to Endicott on Nov. 18, 1943. From Endicott the Battalion moved to Camp Parks and then to Hueneme before sailing overseas on May 20, 1944. The unit arrived at Manus Island on June 17. Between Feb. 1 and April 14. 1945, the outfit had one company working at Ponam Island and one company at Pityilu Island with the main body still located on Manus. War’s end found the 140th on the same island

From   http://nmcb62alumni.org/SeabeeUnitsHistory.pdf


Bootcamp Group Photo, EM1 is on lower left

He was deployed to the South Pacific and spent time on Los Negros and Manus Islands.  He wrote frequently, was lonely, and sent all his earnings home.  He made some extra money cutting hair and with photography.  Shown in photo below climbing a palm, stringing wire. On the back he wrote “High as I go”.

“High as I go”

He survived the war and bought property in northern Michigan around Half Moon lake and operated it as a resort. Later he worked for Oldsmobile as an electrician in Lansing. While working there he purchased the house that I grew up in on Lake Lansing.  He died in 1962.

Dad said he did not talk much about the war.  I was born in 63.

The story of the SeaBees is told in a book entitled “Can Do” by William B. Huie (ISBN 1557503796). “Can Do” is the motto of the SeaBees.  It is a great read.

During the early part of the war, civilians were employed to construct bases.   Many civilians were captured by the Japanese.   When civilians are captured, the paychecks stop, family starves.  In creating the Seabees, the Navy recruited skilled construction tradesmen, already trained in a trade, to build bases, and fight when necessary, toward the goal of sustained combat operations in Japan.  They were building a road,  across the Pacific to invade Japan.  They build, they fight.

The Seabees logo is a bee carrying a tommy gun, a wrench and a hammer.

Installing Marston mat

They were able to build bases with few resources.  They invented a thing called the pontoon that made the D day invasion possible.  They supported the Marines with hot food at the front and even digging foxholes for the wounded.  They went ashore alongside the Marines, sometimes before or shortly after.  They filled the bomb craters in runways as fast as the japs could bomb them.  They constructed new runways in record time using natural materials and steel “marston mat”.

They were part of the greatest generation that fought and won World War II.  To all of those that serve, past, present and future, I thank you for your service.


Certificate undated

Adding an image of a photo that might have been made by O. B. Abbey and a signature from his Blue Jackets Manual.

Prairie Wolves Motorcycle Club 1949

Signature on photo

Signature in BJM







7 Responses to Owen B. Abbey

  1. Patty Axelrod says:

    I have a photograph taken in 1949 by owen b abbey I have tried to look him up and I am unable to find any thing regarding this photo
    prairie wolves
    dodge city motor cycle club
    if you have any information please let me know
    thank you
    patty axelrod

    • admin says:

      Grampa Abbey did photography as a hobby. He lived in Michigan in the Lansing area or Half Moon Lake area. Do you have the photo posted somewhere. If he signed it I might be able to come up with a signature to compare it to. email is doabbey@yahoo.com

    • lisa buell says:

      i also have a photo of the” prairie wolves dodge city 1949 ” i assume its a motorcycle club but the photo doesnt mention anything about it actually being a”club” so im wondering also if any1 has any knowledge of whom or what they were etc. thanks- lisa b.

      • admin says:

        Posted the signature that I have along with a scan of the photo and signature on the photo. Dad did not know anything about it but I know Owen did ride and I have a photo of him on a bike during the war. Not sure if it is his work.

  2. Lynne Neumann says:

    What a great tribute to your grandpa. He looks industrious, a little like his grandson. Hope all is well.


  3. Joe Winters says:

    I am the current American Legion Post Commander of Glen Sickel’s Post 34 in Pasco, WA. We have received and original picture of the Prarie Wolves motorcycle club, circa 1949. Not being able to determine whether or not the photo is related to any military organization, I would like to see it returned to a member of the group or family. Can anyone contact me at joewinters8@msn.com or 509 948-2414.

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