Friday, October 19, 2007

Sailor, Rest Your Oars

Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., United States Navy (Ret)

January 2, 1925 – October 18, 2007

My sincerest condolences go out to the Crowe family on the loss of a fellow Submariner and a superb Naval Officer.

Growing up as an officer's kid in Reagan's navy, I remember watching the episode of Cheers when Admiral Crowe walked into the bar. That was SO cool! I also watched the TV in amazement when Admiral Crowe got to visit the Soviet Union in the beginning stages of easing tensions with the Soviets. Later, as a midshipman, I read his book, In the Line of Fire, and it was an inspiration to me. What I took away from reading that book was that you shouldn't worry about stereotypical "dead-end" jobs in the Navy or what jobs you're "supposed" to do in order to advance your career. Admiral Crowe routinely deviated from traditional norms in submarine officer career paths and did outrageous things like get a masters degree (gasp!), and later even worse he got a PhD (the horror!), and did weirdo things like JOINT duty (somebody get a straight-jacket). More importantly, he got to see and do some really cool stuff in the non-traditional career path he made for himself. One could say he planted the seed in my mind that justified me getting a NON-engineering bachelor's degree and a NON-engineering master's degree, and seeking out a joint duty job early in my career. As much as I enjoy being a submarine officer and as I have said before, the best thing about being a submarine officer is being out there on the pointy-end-of-the-spear doing the cool tactical stuff (sorry, can't tell ya about it). There weren't many submarine shore duty jobs that really appealed to me, so I advanced my education and I went to an awesome joint duty job (again, sorry, can't tell ya).

I found it interesting to read in his book how much he "rocked the boat" with his appearance on Cheers and his decision to take Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes with him on his trip to the Soviet Union. Everyone advised him not to do it. He definitely was NOT a conformist.

After my dad read the news, he sent me an email of his recollections of interactions with Admiral Crowe on active duty. Dad spoke very highly of Admiral Crowe, and his stories "checked with chart" as far as my feelings about the Admiral.

God bless you, Admiral Crowe, and thanks for the inspiration you've were to me personally.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Tip of the hat to Admiral Crowe. Great tribute post Kevin.