In early May 1943, a two-phase "Naval Demolition Project" was directed by the Chief of Naval Operations "to meet a present and urgent requirement". The first phase began at Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Solomons, Maryland with the establishment of Operational Naval Demolition Unit No. 1. Six officers and eighteen enlisted men reported from the Seabee's NTC Camp Peary dynamiting and demolition school, for a four-week course. Those Seabees, led by Lieutenant Fred Wise CEC, were immediately sent to participate in the invasion of Sicily. At that time Lieutenant Commander Draper L. Kauffman, "The Father of Naval Combat Demolition," was selected to set up a school for Naval Demolitions and direct the entire Project. The first six classes graduated from "Area E" at NTC Camp Peary. LCDR Kauffman's needs quickly out-grew "Area E" and on 6 June 1943 he established NCDU training at Fort Pierce. Most of Kauffman's volunteers came from the navy's Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) and enlisted seabees. Training commenced with a grueling week designed to filter out under-performing candidates.