Before There Were SeaBees There Were...

The Civilian Construction Men of Wake Island

These are the men that history almost forgot.

In 1941, more than 1,100 civilian men ventured 4,000 miles across the Pacific to desolate Wake Island to build a U.S. Navy base.  Just hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Wake Island was attacked and these men were thrust into the forefront of the war in the Pacific.

USMC artwork, The Defense of Wake

Fewer still know the story of the un-enlisted -- the civilians -- who originally went to Wake Island to help build a naval base and ended up fighting and dying for their country.

Indeed it wasn’t until 1981 that the U.S. government itself officially recognized those civilians who had served heroically on Wake as “veterans” of World War II.

Of the 1,100 civilians, who originally went to Wake Island to build the Navy base, many lost their lives in the initial combat for the Island. After the island fell, the survivors were shipped off to P.O.W. camps in China and Japan to wait out the rest of the war. 98 civilians were retained on the island to serve the needs of the Japanese military. Their time on the island would end in dire consequences.

“Those Who Also Served” is the story of the men who went to Wake Island to earn good wages so they could go to college or those looking for travel and adventure far from their depression era existence in Middle America. It was those who -- without even the basics of military training -- took up arms against the enemy when attacked.

Who might wish to own a copy of this documentary account of the civilian contractors and their service on Wake Island during World War II? The answer is varied and diverse:

  • Anyone interested in World War II history.
  • Anyone interested in Naval history.
  • Family and relatives of the civilians and military who served there.
  • Scholars and Educators interested in the plight of non-military detainees during time of war.
  • Anyone interested in another snapshot of what long-time NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw described in his book as the Greatest Generation.

It is to these men of Wake Island and to all those who served their country with little or no recognition and whose service was all to quickly forgotten, that this film is dedicated.











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