The U.S. Navy Seabees are having their second annual East Coast reunion this weekend in Hampton, Va. The Vietnam Era Seabees veterans' association invited me to participate as a guest speaker to talk about the episode I produced in 2006 for "War Stories With Oliver North" called "The Navy's Fighting Seabees." I am humbled by the honor bestowed upon me.
I got their invitation last summer, at a time when I was mired in the production of another documentary for FOX News Channel. It was a welcome distraction and brought back many good memories from years ago when I was given the opportunity to produce an episode all on my own — my first solo credit.
• Catch the 'War Stories Classic: The Navy's Fighting Seabees,' Monday, March 2 at 3 a.m. ET
However, it also made me a little nervous — I have never spoken in public and couldn't imagine being able to captivate an audience of hundreds talking about my job.
I kept putting off writing my speech until a month ago, when I realized that it wasn't about me or what I had to say, but about paying tribute to the men and women who have served as Navy Seabees. It's amazing how after this very simple revelation, the speech wrote itself.
The Seabees were borne out of necessity and of Rear Admiral Ben Moreel's vision. In 1942, just weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, he recommended establishing naval construction battalions which would deploy all over the world, building whatever was needed, under fire.
Their official motto is Construimus, Batuimus, which translates into "We Build, We Fight." But speak to any Seabee, as I have and they'll tell you that their real motto is simply, "Can Do!"
Indeed they have.
With their trademark of a fierce and determined bee carrying hammer in one hand and a Tommy gun in the other, no other branch of the U.S. Navy has served in more theaters of war or tackled more challenging missions than the Seabees. They are at this minute building schools and clinics in Iraq; combat bases in Afghanistan; communications sites in places we cannot name, and roads and airstrips in places many cannot even pronounce.
In all of this, they continue to prove — as they have since World War II — that when it comes to building and fighting, the Seabees "Can Do!"
— Ayse Wieting is a producer for "War Stories With Oliver North"