The Fighting Seabees, 1944

With support from the Navy, Hollywood created a movie to tell the story of how the Seabees, or Construction Battalions, were created. It was good to see the men working together as a team rather than supporting the valiant efforts of one man.

John Wayne plays Wedge Donovan, the owner of a construction company who welcomes his crew home from a job working for the Navy during WWII and throws a party that honors the men who didn’t make it home.

Susan Hayward is Connie Chesley, a news reporter whose boyfriend, Lt. Commander Yarrow, has been trying to convince the Navy to change the way they’ve been sending construction crews overseas. With construction boss Donovan’s help, Yarrow may be able to train those men to work in the Navy instead of for the Navy.

The romance thread in this braid (the other two threads are the history of the Seabees and the story’s main plot of creating and defending a refueling station in the Pacific) is the tried and true “two men in love with the same woman”. I enjoyed the spunk of the Connie, but she and Donovan had obvious flaws. The one person who I felt deserved a happy ending was the one who showed patience and control throughout the movie, Lt. Commander Yarrow. Yarrow was played by Dennis O’Keefe a talented actor who not only began his career as an extra in over 200 movies, but also later hosted his own TV show.

It was also fun to see William Frawley in his role as Eddie Powers. Frawley later became famous as Fred Mertz on the I Love Lucy TV show.