Navy Seabee Foundation

Why I’m Part of the Seabees’ “Can Do” Legacy

Why I’m Part of the Seabees’ “Can Do” Legacy

by Dick Bukus
NFL Hall of Famer and Former Linebacker for the Chicago Bears

Seabee Diamond Anniversary Ambassador

Strong. Tenacious. Unstoppable. These qualities typify a great linebacker: someone with a “Can Do” attitude who won’t hold back from tackling the toughest opponents and the toughest jobs. These qualities also describe the U.S. Navy Seabees. As the Navy’s construction force, they have a long and proud history of defending American values and protecting freedom.

Their “Can Do” attitude is one of the things I admire most about the Seabees. No job has ever been too difficult for them to tackle. Seabee training and experience have shaped leaders and doers in every walk of life, with an impact spanning generations. Their determination, perseverance and strength of character are inspirational. As a former NFL linebacker myself, I appreciate these qualities, and that’s why I support the Seabees.

My football days are long over. Golf is my game now, and it was on a golf course several years ago where I began my relationship with the Seabees. My good friend Steve Thomas, a former Seabee, asked if I’d consider joining a campaign to raise money for the U. S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, CA. This museum, a project of the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation, would honor and commemorate the extraordinary accomplishments of the Seabees.

Dick Butkus receiving the “Fighting Seabee” Award from RADM Ben Montoya in 2014.

Giving back is very important to me, but I only take on causes I truly believe in. I wanted to support the Seabees but first needed to know more. They brought me out to tour their facilities and meet the foundation’s leadership team, an outstanding group of people. I was impressed with what I learned. Since their beginnings in World War II, Seabees have built roads, hospitals, schools, wells, bridges, and airstrips, supporting our troops and peacekeeping forces, often operating under enemy fire. Like a good linebacker, a Seabee tenaciously embraces a challenge, never giving up until the job is done.

Once I heard all this, I was on board. Supporting the Seabees is a natural extension of my longstanding commitment to the U.S. armed forces. I’ve served in the National Guard and have been privileged to go on several USO tours, traveling the globe to visit our troops. In 2003, I became the national spokesperson for the CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation campaign to provide a new facility to house the Seabee museum. I was happy to sponsor four golf tournaments that raised more than $800,000.

Coming from a vocational high school that trained for the crafts and trades, I relate to what the Seabees are: builders, masons, plumbers, carpenters, engineers, and electricians. These days everyone wants to be the boss, not the laborer building bridges and roads. The Seabees have done all this and more, serving behind the scenes with no sense of entitlement.

The CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation will celebrate the Seabees’ 75th Anniversary in March 2017 with a Diamond Anniversary Campaign focused on securing funds to install major new exhibits in the museum and to spark public interest in the accomplishments of the Seabees and CEC. Please consider becoming a part of the Seabee “Can Do” heritage. Your contributions will honor their legacy and help create exhibits showcasing the many ways in which they’ve helped build our country and the world.

There’s another reason I support this project. Throughout my life I’ve made a point of learning as much about technology as I can. Technology is at the heart of what the Seabees do. Their training is based on construction, engineering, and science, and never has this knowledge been more important to our country’s future than it is now. Through your support you can inspire the new generation to learn these life-changing skills.

Please join me in celebrating the extraordinary accomplishments of the Seabees. Let’s support them as they’ve supported our country. There is no better way to thank them for all they have done for us, as soldiers, builders, peacekeepers, and humanitarians.

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  1. That is certainly a winner Mr Butkus. Hats off to ya! Retired Master Chief of 31 years in the Navy Seabees Thank You for serving Mr. Butkis!

  2. Who. Rah!

  3. Mr. Butkus,
    Thank you for your acknowledgment and support of the Navy Seabees!