An obituary in Tuesday's editions of The Washington Post about retired Adm. Ben Moreell, who organized the Navy's famous Seabee construction battalions during World War II. misspelled the admiral's name in the headline and throughout the story. The Washington Post regrets the error.
Retired admiral Ben Moreel, 85, organizer of the Navy's famous Seabee construction battalions during World War II, died of cancer Sunday at the Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Adm. Moreel was a civil engineer by profession and an administrator and industralist by experience. In the autumn of 1945 President Truman put him in charge of a large part of the nation's petroleum industry because of strikes. When the government seized the strike-bound bituminous coal mines adminstrator by the president.
He later served for several years as chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. He was a founder and former chairman and chief executive of Americans for Constitutional Action, a conservative political organization.
Adm. Moreel's best-known achievement was the organization of the Seabees, so called because of the initials CB for construction battalions. At the height of their strength during World War II, they numbered 258,000 officers and men. They built advanced bases and facilities in all theaters of the war. The Seabees are still part of the Navy.
Adm. Moreel was born in Salt Lake City. He grew up in St. Louis, where he graduated from Washington University in 1913 with a degree in civil engineering. He was commissioned in the Navy in 1917 when the United States entered World War I and remained in the service for 29 years. He was the only officer of the Navy's civil engineer corps to reach the rank of four-star admiral.
He was an expert in concrete construction and received numerous awards for his work as an engineer.
In 1937, he was named chief of the Navy's bureau of yards and docks with the rank of rear admiral. He held this post until 1945, when he was appointed chief of the material division in the office of the assistant secretary of the Navy. He was promoted to full admiral in 1946 and retired later that year.
He headed the Turner Construction Co. in New York for a year and then joined the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. in Pittsburgh as board chairman and chief executive officer. He gave up the presidency of the firm in 1952 but remained chief executive and board chairman until 1957. He stayed on the board of directors until his retirement in 1964. For some years afterward he was a private business consultant.
Adm. Morelel helped found Americans for Constitutional Action in 1958. The organization was set up as a counterweight to the liberal Americans for Democratic Action. The Admiral was chairman of the group until he retired in 1973.
In 1975, Adm. Moreel was chosen as one of the 10 men who have contributed most to the advancement of construction methods in the United States in the past 50 years. The honor was conferred on him by the construction division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 1977, he received the society's President's Award for "distinguished service to his country in times of war and peace."
Adm. Moreel was chairman of the task force on water resources and power for the Second Hoover Commission in the 1950s. He also was a member of the board of consulting engineers for the Panama Canal.
He was a past president of the Society of American Military Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, and the Army and Navy Club in Washington. He received honorary degrees from several universities. He was the author of a number of books and articles, including "Standards of Design for Concrete," which was published in 1929.
Adm. Moreel's survivors include his third wife, Jessie Grimm Moreel; two daughters, Mrs. Marion M. Jordan, of Pittsburgh, and Patricia Moreel, of Boca Raton, Fla., and three grandchildren.