Archivist’s Attic: The Song of the Seabees

Song of the Seabees001

Starting up a new arm of the military can always be a challenge. What logos to use, what drills to run, what kind of exercises, commands and personal do you need to get units up and running. All important questions. On the lighter side, but perhaps just as important to moral, community and spirit, are the mottos and songs used to excite and drive the new units into action.

The Seabees officially became part of the Navy during World War II. At this time the U.S. Navy had its own traditions including their own music and lyrics. Never quite satisfied with the all-embracing Navy song “Anchors Aweigh,” the Seabees came up their own rousing chant that they put to music and turned into “The Song of the Seabees.”

Seabee Song 5

Within a few months the bright and spirited song became a hit with glee clubs and radio orchestras, as well as with the Seabees themselves. Often times the song went by motto of the Seabees, “Can Do, Will Do.” Millions of copies were distributed and its popularity continued to grow. The song was even included in the popular magazine “Hit Parader” and was sung by many well-known stars including the very talented Judy Garland.

The song also became popular as a recruitment devise and was used in various advertisements encouraging men to join the new units. The opening words were often used at the start of an article before describing the various different jobs one could do while working as a Seabee.

Song of the Seabees004

The song remained popular long after World War II was won. In 1966 a contest was held to add another verse to the song. The Seabees got a lot of different entries but the winner was C.T. Green and his verse is now part of the official Seabee song.

We’re the Seabees of the Navy

The “Can-Do” men in green.

In war or peace you’ll find us,

Ready on the scene.

And no matter what the mission,

With our past we’ll keep tradition.

We’re the Seabees of the Navy,

Bees of the Seven Seas.

Though the song might have lost some popularity with the general public, it continues to be sung at various ceremonies and throughout the Seabee community.



Meet the Archivist: Ingi House
Ingi House is originally from Kansas where she got her B.A. in history from K.U. and M.L.S. from E.S.U. After working for the Dole Institute of Politics she moved to the East Coast.  In D.C. she worked at the National Archives and Records Admiration and then at the Defense Acquisition University where she became a Certified Archivist. Her continued enjoyment of military history lead her to switching coasts and coming to work for the Seabee Museum where she is collection manager for the archives and records manager liaison

One comment on “Archivist’s Attic: The Song of the Seabees

  1. Kathy Green Parker says:

    So happy to see my dad, C.T. Green, acknowledged for writing a verse of the song. (He is on Facebook, I’m sending this to him immediately!) Actually, his friend Clyde Hood helped him. Normally you only see the author of the original version given credit. THANK YOU!


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