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Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-11-2007, 10:28 AM   #1
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Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

I split this question out to a separate thread. Gumby, you'll have to add your story too. Anyone else?

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Originally Posted by SoonToRetire
Off topic, but are you old enough to have been interviewed by Adm Rickover, and if so do you have any anectdotes?
Yeah, we were lucky enough to meet the kindly old gentleman three days before he retired. John Lehman, that young pissant (Rickover's term), had just taken over SECNAV and his first official act was to force Rickover into retirement, so you can imagine that the admiral was not in the jolliest of moods. 25 years later I can recall this two-minute trauma interview more clearly than I can remember my wedding ceremony.

Driving to the Naval Reactors offices was a logistical challenge because an AirFlorida jet had crashed into the 14th St Bridge* the week before, closing it to traffic and totally snarling the DC commute. So we boarded the bus at 3 AM (four hours each way) and some of us didn't get home until after 8 PM. We were excused from classes, drill, & watchstanding but of course we had to make up all our assignments.

The NR staff started with three "technical" interviews. They'd ask questions in your major and on general math/heat transfer/engineering topics. If you were there of your own free will you'd try to do well. If you'd been "encouraged" to interview then you displayed varying degrees of stupidity-- for example too dumb to handle fluid thermodynamics yet still smart enough to handle the EE topics that you'd need for flight school.

Two years before our interviews, the Class of '80 hadn't put forth enough nuclear volunteers and several more candidates were issued special invitations to help make quota. These "volunteers" really wanted to go Navy Air so they weren't very supportive of NR's interview process. Their somewhat churlish "poor performance" and lack of motivation had earned the USNA Supe (an aviator) a personal call from the Admiral, so even two years later the USNA administration was taking an intense interest in making sure that we were respectful and cooperative. They didn't want a repeat of the infamous '80 candidate whom Rickover asked "'Schirmer'?!? What the heck kind of name is that?!?" "Sir, it's German for 'pilot', sir!"

So after a rousing morning of interviews (perhaps a bonus round or two for marginal contenders), tensions were running high. We got yummy box lunches and went into the holding tank to await the big show, which had no definite ending time. Back then everyone at NR wore civilian attire but I learned later that the guys shepherding us around were full Navy captains. One of them would sit behind you during the Rickover interview just for the purpose of pulling your foot out of your mouth.

We were actually briefed with a flip chart of several scale floorplans of the Admiral's office. (It was about 10'x 15', 1960s vinyl floor squares, no carpet, with metal desks & filing cabinets. I had bigger & better offices when I was a lieutenant.) Little footprints showed how we'd enter, where we'd sound off, and where we'd sit. (No doubt today NR uses animated PowerPoint slides.) We were encouraged to think before opening our mouths, but not for too long. (Of course we'd heard all the Rickover urban legends and so we agreed with that advice.) We were told when the Admiral said "That's all" we should run for our lives like Shaggy & Scoobie-Doo promptly yet courteously depart without tripping over our feet. Because we were someday going to be nukes, we actually practiced in a vacant office with a chair.

The Admiral had a somewhat parsimonious reputation and it had probably been decades since his last uniform inspection, so when I saw him behind his desk he was wearing a uniform that was about two sizes too big. A scrawny little neck was sticking out from a huge shirt collar atop a jacket that made him look like he was shrinking into a bobblehead. (Of course at the time this was not the least bit amusing.) The chair was a standard wooden classroom chair (no arms) with just enough room in front of his desk to sit down in it. For those of you who've heard of the "special chair" with cut-down front legs to make you lean forward and slide off the seat, this was just a standard chair. That "special chair" had probably been retired and donated to the Smithsonian.

He asked me how much I studied every night. "Four to five hours, sir." (I had recently nailed a 4.00 GPA so I was feeling even more cocky than usual.) He asked how often I thought my classmates studied. I replied "At least three hours a night, sir" and he asked why I chose that number. "It's the minimum, sir." He asked if I thought it was fair to assume that they studied the minimum, or if some of them tried harder and studied more, and whether this applied to the junior classes as well. I thought he was asking one o' them there rhetorical questions so I was keeping my mouth shut when he slammed both hands on the desk and shouted "ANSWER THE QUESTION!" I froze like a headlighted deer just before impact so the highly-trained quick-thinking O-6 behind me saved my life by saying "Sir, the midshipmen thinks that the Admiral's question was rhetorical." I began nodding my own bobblehead imitation and was told "That's all." A few days later I was informed that I was a member of the club.

Other midshipman weren't so lucky. One company mate, Steve, was a political science major. The Admiral opined "Political science?!? Why the hell are you studying that-- are you going to run for division officer?" (Steve is in the Air Force now.) At least a dozen were invited to write monthly letters to the Admiral detailing their study hours, their grades, and their plans for the next month. (Of course this was tracked by the chain of command because the Admiral read all of them and didn't hesitate to respond to muddied thinking.) One guy was interviewed three times (three separate days' worth of bus trips) before NR decided they just couldn't take a chance on him.

Another classmate, Tom, had it even worse. As the interview moment approached we were told that we'd be called in based on our staff-interview performance. (We weren't told whether that was good or bad.) Tom had finished his box lunch and now desperately had to visit the bathroom, but we'd been warned that the interviews would start at any moment. He finally broke and went to the bathroom "just for a minute", so of course less than 10 seconds later his name was called for the first interview. (A quarter-century later he still gets teased about spending his Rickover interview hiding in the bathroom puking his guts out.) When the Admiral learned he was in the bathroom and not yet ready, Tom was sent to the back of the line. After a three-hour wait, in the first minute of his interview he was ejected for poor logic and inarticulate answers, banished to a closet (a very small office with just a chair) to reconsider his performance, and told that he'd be interviewed later that day. This wasn't too unusual and we'd been briefed on the contingency so he quietly waited (no bathroom calls this time). Four hours later, as they were locking up the building for the night, one of the captains noticed the light in the room. He opened the door, gulped, and told Tom to go sit in the waiting room. He brought Tom a sandwich and told him that the Admiral would complete the interview tomorrow. (The unspoken truth was that they had just forgotten about him and resumed their normal business. And none of us mids were going to ask questions about our MIA classmate!) They put him in a cab and sent back to Annapolis, where he arrived by 9 PM-- just in time to get a few hours' sleep before boarding the 3 AM bus for interview #2. He was eventually turned down and applied for a transfer to the Air Force, where he had a great time.

Rickover had a reputation for stealing the best away from the rest. In addition to the 1980 "nuclear draft", he had even prevailed upon USNA to adjust its academics so that 80% of the mids were in engineering/science majors and only 20% were in non-tech majors like history, English, & economics. (Everyone still had engineering & leadership required classes.) Before making our final service selection, I was most interested in being a submariner but still tried to hedge my bets by interviewing with a couple other communities. Each interview lasted about 90 seconds and ended right after the second question: "Have you interviewed with ADM Rickover? Did you pass? OK, thanks for stopping by!"

When I chose nuclear power I was awarded a $3000 bonus. Including that bonus, my taxable pay for 1982 was $9929...

OK, Gumby, your turn!

* DC101's local bad-boy disk jockey called Air Florida (on the air) and inquired of their staff whether they'd be making the 14th St Bridge a regular flight. The public outcry to this notorious stunt eventually inspired him to migrate to NYC. His name is Howard Stern.
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-11-2007, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-11-2007, 06:04 PM   #3
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

Nords, Grumby, thanks for those anectdotes, they're priceless. You nuke submariners who were interviewed by Rickover should get together and publish a book. I've heard several anectdotes from individuals such as yourselves, but you've added details that I've not heard before, about the process of being called, the physical descriptions, and the post interview. I almost felt like I was there with you. I can tell from your detailed recollections what a significant even this was in your career.

We in the AF nuke side thought of Rickover as the Navy's Curtis LeMay and privately relished thoughts of another Service dealing with an even more demented task-focused leader. It made dealing with SAC a bit easier :-)

I have some second hand Rickover recollections from hearing him speak at USAFA. This was in the late 70s or maybe 80-81 when he came to speak during Navy week. That week was particularly full of spirit, with some Middies sneaking in and repainting the huge "Air Force" letters on the stadium seating to "Navy."

Rickover was brought into several cadet classes to speak, and that afternoon we had a mandatory formation for the faculty to go hear him. Mandatory formations were used several times a year to ensure a full house for speakers, but it was hardly necessary for Rickover -- we could have sold tickets.

We had several Navy exchange officers in the audience, so before Rickover's speech there were several rounds of "Go Navy" from them, answered with resounding cries of "Go Air Force." Finally Rickover was introduced and even though I knew he had already served about a million years, I was taken back by his age and how he didn't completely fill his suit. When he started speaking, though, his appearance changed, he was in complete command and gave a captivating history of the nuclear Navy and his own role in its formation.

After the speech he asked for questions, and the normally active audience seemed shy, nobody wanted to be the first to come to Rickover's attention. Finally someone raised their hands and asked him for his thoughts about cadet athletics and who he thought would win the Navy Air Force game. I can't quote his exact words, and have to censor his response, but it was something to the effect of "I don't give a d*n about a bunch of kids running around throwing balls back and forth. We have more serious things to teach these kids and if it were up to me I would cancel the academy's athletic programs." There was absolutely no audience response. What can you do? Clap? Boo? By that point the audience's goal became to remain as invisible as possible.

After prodding by the Sup, someone else raised their hands and asked Rickover if he thought nuclear radiation was well contained in the subs and if there might be any effects. He said something to the effect that Congress was always asking the same question and he had the same response "Hell a little radiation is good for you."

Then someone asked him if what we had all heard about his famous interviews were right, or if their legend had grown over the years.

As he began his response we became all ears. He gave a long response that we hoped would reflect the madness of those interviews, but by the time he finished we actually understood a little why he conducted them in the way he did. I wish I had it recorded but from what I recall he said yes, the interviews were just the way we had heard, and were meant to be that way. He said by the time someone got to his level to interview they had the required technical knowledge and background. The purpose of his interviews was not to determine if the person was technically good enough, but whether they could handle the pressure of something totally off the wall and unexpected. He said the nuclear sub needed such people.

I do remember him mentioning the chair with the sawed off legs. He mentioned that he had no idea or preconception of what he would ask before the interview happened, he would handle it by whatever came into his mind. One time someone came in and he looked up and asked him to sing something. He started singing some ditty and while he was still singing he asked the next candidate to come in. He then told the singer to go behind the curtain in his office, where he went and kept singing for the entire interview with the other person. (edit, I just remembered this, the poor guy had to keep singing)

I remember another one, but I don't think it's appropriate for this board. Suffice it to say it would make anyone with the slighest bit of religious training extremely uncomfortable. Probalby half the audience dropped their jaws open. Keep in mind, Rickover was relating this to a roomfull of perhaps 500 professional Air Force officers many of whom had extensive war experience. In spite of that, the response was a combination of nervous snickers, indignation, and even some anger. Guess what? This was precisely what Rickover was trying to extract from individuals he interviewed -- who could handle it and who would break?

In the end he got a standing ovation and we all felt we knew the legendary Rickover a bit better. And were glad as hell he wore a different uniform :-)

Oh, from what I recall Navy cleaned our clocks that year. But not for long!

Thanks again for your anectdotes.
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-11-2007, 06:24 PM   #4
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

Great Anecdotes. I had heard something about them, comparing them unfavorablely to the Foreign Service exam (My dad's branch of the government after he got out of the Army).

Nords. I remember the bridge being knocked out by the Air Florida crash. I was supposed to be on it because I was going into the District to pick up my wife (now ex). It was snowing and we agreed that she would take the Metro (where they had a fatal accident that day too).

Great stories, thanks again for sharing.
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-11-2007, 10:56 PM   #5
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

He spoke at the Naval Academy a couple times, once when he and the Supe were embroiled in another tech vs humanities dispute. Rickover didn't hesitate to call the Supe when he had a complaint, but when he wanted to change policy he'd talk to a Senator and let them call the Supe. The Supe, VADM Lawrence, was one of the Vietnam War's most famous POWs and he wasn't going to let some whiny little EDO push an aviator around (even if he was a star ahead of him). So relationships were somewhat strained.

During this rivalry, ADM Rickover came to USNA to give a talk to the brigade. VADM Lawrence (at least six feet tall) introduced Rickover and invited him to the podium. Rickover put his hands on the podium, squared off, and asked "Can you hear me?" We then realized that he was at least six inches shorter than VADM Lawrence and the mikes, where VADM Lawrence had left them, were at the top of Rickover's head. He was nearly inaudible and a wave of chuckling washed across the audience. VADM Lawrence saw the mike situation at the same time and jumped to his feet to lower the mikes to Rickover's mouth. Rickover, who must've been worried about losing his place, swatted Lawrence's hands away from the mikes and a murmur rolled through the audience as VADM L pivoted & returned to his seat. Rickover reached way up, grabbed both mikes, pulled them down to his lips, and shouted "CAN YOU HEAR ME?!!" The audience roared back "YES, SIR!" Rickover proceeded.

It was the most boring speech I'd ever heard-- a two-hour blow-by-blow hagiography snoozer of his entire career from 1922 onward. I think his only reason for coming to USNA that night was to exact some bizarre sort of vengeance on us for giving him so much trouble about technical vs humanities majors. The guy held a grudge like no other human being.

However he redeemed his speechifying reputation at the commissioning of the USS OHIO, the first of the Trident missile boomers. It was Jan 1982 in New London, CT so we were freezing our butts off. He got up to the microphone after a long, boring ceremony and said, "We're here to commission America's newest ballistic missile submarine. Why did we build this magnificent weapon?" The frozen audience shifted in their seats & mumbled. Rickover said "I'll tell you why. TO STRIKE FEAR AND TREMBLING INTO THE HEARTS OF THE ENEMY!!" It echoed off the stone cliffs above the drydock and reverbed across the Thames River. I'm sure the audio tape was being replayed in the Kremlin within the hour.

It was like watching a Klingon come alive behind that podium.

It'd be interesting to visit Naval Reactors today and see how the latest admiral is handling things, and what his office looks like. But I think I'll leave that research to someone else...
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-12-2007, 12:33 AM   #6
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

I finally have heard good Richover interview stories, thanks for sharing. I knew three submariners at Intel, one was an enlisted guy who I guess didn't have to face the good admiral.

I had appointment to Annapolis and was intrigued by the legendary Admiral at young age, but chickened out of all the BS rigors associated with the Service Academies and took a Air ROTC scholarship instead. Hence I was anxious to see about the path not chose for myself. One of the submariners, cemented his reputation as one of the most boring young man I knew, by relating his Rickover interviewer in this fashion.

"I waited a long time to for the interview, he called me into his office, asked me about my classes, and it was over in a couple of minutes." "Were you nervous?", I asked "Not really" I think this guy (who's name needless to say has long since faded away) would have graduated in 79 or 80. Luckily the enlisted guy (Vietnam era vet) has some fun stories of inspections with the Admiral.
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-12-2007, 10:00 AM   #7
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

It was the most boring speech I'd ever heard-- a two-hour blow-by-blow hagiography snoozer of his entire career from 1922 onward. I think his only reason for coming to USNA that night was to exact some bizarre sort of vengeance on us for giving him so much trouble about technical vs humanities majors. The guy held a grudge like no other human being.
Interesting. I might call his USAFA speech many things, but boring is not one of them. Goes to show he could come across in quite different ways, as in your TO STRIKE FEAR AND TREMBLING INTO THE HEARTS OF THE ENEMY!! story. I think you're right about his having an agenda for being at USNA that night. I'd heard of how he rubbed many Navy people the wrong way, and from your tales I can see why. In this way he was a bit like LeMay but even more over the top.

It's said he had a very difficult time as a middie and grew to hate USNA, and vice versa. He also had a chip on his shoulder as the son of poor Jewish immigrants. Not sure how true this is, since all histories are biased, but here is one such article. This is from Air University Review, but written by a Navy guy:

"From his entry into the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1918, Rickover was in conflict with the aristocratic WASP aura of Annapolis. (His family, living in a poor American Jewish neighborhood in Chicago, had come to America from Maków, Poland. Young Rickover, at age six, traveling steerage, lived off a barrel of salted herring except when passengers threw oranges to him and other children looking up from the bowels of the ship.) Unfriendly and friendless, he soon learned to hate the Naval Academy and the Navy."

http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/a...g/schratz.html

One short "Bombs Away LeMay" story, from one of his SAC morning briefers in the 1950s. This was relayed to me, as it was before my time. The SAC morning standups were stressful affairs, since LeMay could be abusive and was well known for interspersing his speech with his colorful blue vocabulary. But the staff, who had been all male, soon learned to tune out his four letter words. One day a new officer appeared at the standup, a 2Lt and the first female to attend.

The staff was all nerves as the meeting began and LeMay soon turned to his four letter abusive vocabulary. After a while the Lt spoke up and said "Excuse me sir, but your language is offensive to me." Deadly silence. My friend said the entire staff looked at her and LeMay, who sat there stunned at having not only a 2Lt but a female call him on his language. He said LeMay's hands tighetened into fists and you could see his skin become white with anger while he pondered his response. He really didn't know what to say. So he finally looked at her and screamed "WELL YOU'D &$#^ BETTER GET USED TO IT BECAUSE THIS IS THE ^&%$ WAY I &*$^ SPEAK!!!"

That naive and brave 2Lt never returned to the staff meetings, but this was probably a turning point in SAC and the Air Force beginning to learn about sensitivities. SAC was still very tough when I served in the 60s but that type of rawness was not there. As for LeMay, his later candidacy for VP as George Wallace's running mate shows his less than progressive mindset. We're lucky that McNamarra and Kennedy reined him in during the Cuban missile crisis, or we might not be here today to talk about it.
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-12-2007, 03:05 PM   #8
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

Wow - great stories - I was just an AFROTC puke myself - I remember sitting in the ROTC lounge one day talking with a fellow ROTC person - he mentioned the nuclear Navy and the hilatious interview process - I kind of marveled at that - frankly, I was just trying to stay ahead myself at school with a large class load, a part-time job and huge distractions at Ariz State Univ - didn't help that the university was one of the largest in the nation at that time so you were really a number. I do remember sitting in physics class and the professor saying 'look left, look right' - those people will be gone by the you graduate - oh, he was so right - in fact I think the attrition rate was more than that. I can attest to the fact that at that college at that time, those professors were more interested in their research than in teaching undergraduate students......I survived. As for the Air Force - yes, good stories there - still an a Reservist - more stories to come :-)

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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-13-2007, 01:22 AM   #9
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp
I think this guy (who's name needless to say has long since faded away) would have graduated in 79 or 80.
Those guys were my upperclass (and my wife's). We have the yearbooks... maybe we should get together and go over the mug shots!

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifp
Luckily the enlisted guy (Vietnam era vet) has some fun stories of inspections with the Admiral.
I've read that he was actually quite friendly with the enlisted, and the E-4 responsible for seeing to his needs during a submarine's sea trials would have a completely different impression of the Admiral than that sub's CO would be subjected to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonToRetire
It's said he had a very difficult time as a middie and grew to hate USNA, and vice versa. He also had a chip on his shoulder as the son of poor Jewish immigrants. Not sure how true this is, since all histories are biased, but here is one such article.
Speaking as a WASP, USNA in the first three-quarters of the 20th century was varying degrees of anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, and misogynistic. Some of those situations have improved. Our version of the story is that the 1922 yearbook had perforations around Rickover's picture so that alumni could remove it if desired. It was such a pervasive urban legend that the 1922 yearbook had been removed from library access. However I think Rickover's USNA talk was the first time he'd been invited back in nearly six decades. None of the other four-star admirals had to wait that long...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoonToRetire
One short "Bombs Away LeMay" story, from one of his SAC morning briefers in the 1950s.
Have you read "The Eleven Days of Christmas"? I never realized how LeMay poisoned an entire generation of Air Force officers. A 62-year-old Navy F-4 RIO friend of mine, with a couple deployments to YANKEE STATION, is still nearly incoherent with rage on the subject almost four decades later. LeMay's legacy has certainly ruined his life...
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-13-2007, 02:08 PM   #10
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Have you read "The Eleven Days of Christmas"? I never realized how LeMay poisoned an entire generation of Air Force officers. A 62-year-old Navy F-4 RIO friend of mine, with a couple deployments to YANKEE STATION, is still nearly incoherent with rage on the subject almost four decades later. LeMay's legacy has certainly ruined his life...
Just ordered it, thanks for the tip. Reading the description and reviews reminds me of those difficult days. LeMay built the Air Force strategic nuclear forces in the same way Rickover built the nuclear Navy. I didn’t realize the extent of Rickover’s deleterious effect on the Navy just as you didn’t realize LeMay’s “poisonous” effect on the AF. Anectodes are one thing, but it’s hard to understand the effect of these personalities on the Service as a whole unless you’ve been there. We’re still fighting some neo-LeMay policies, and I think the “Shock and Awe” was one of them.

In the late 60s I was in a SAC still in the strong grips of the LeMay mentality even though he was by then retired. My entire time in SAC I never met a single enlisted or officer who planned to remain there for long. It was a shame because we all believed in the mission and the ironic SAC motto “Peace is Our Profession.” But the LeMay legacy was one of “Zero Defects,” with no time to “differentiate between the incompetent and the unfortunate,” one of LeMay’s sayings that were ingrained in our consciousness. Leadership was not by example, but by intimidation and fear, reward and punishment. One mistake and your career was over. I saw many fine officers leave SAC, leave the Air Force, or have nervous breakdowns. As we said, “SAC eats its young.” One day someone would win a SAC award for doing something well, the next day they would be fired for making a mistake. The enlisted men had a joke, they would sneak and paint “Sac Sucks” as grafitti on the top of a prominent building at every SAC base, only visible from the air, so you would always know you were landing on one.

I eventually escaped SAC and in 1972 worked with several F4 and Linebacker I/II pilots and crew who had returned from theater. The frustration of a long tactical war brought back the LeMay protégés who convinced Nixon that strategic bombing was the answer. If the enemy hasn’t surrendered yet, bomb them some more until they do. And if the enemy defenses get stronger, send more bombers. We had the wrong planes, the wrong tactics, and the wrong command and control to translate strategic bombing to Vietnam, but that didn’t matter to these guys. To LeMay and his legacy, the tactical air forces were there just to provide enough escorts to get a few more bombs on target. They tried to recreate the Japanese surrender in Vietnam by “bombing’em back to the stone age.” All it succeeded in doing, besides losing a lot of planes and crews, was to bring the North Vietnamese to Paris where they proceeded to continue the fight on the diplomatic arena. And we know how it all ended, with refugees clinging to helicopters on the Embassy rooftop.

I really think LeMay became increasingly imbalanced, and by the end was close to his caricature as played by George C Scott in “Dr Strangelove.” There’s the old joke that to a hammer every problem looks like a nail, and to LeMay strategic bombing could solve every political problem in the world, no matter how complex. The bigger the bomb, the faster the solution. He advocated the nuking of Russia, the nuking of Cuba, and who knows what else. Thank God for civilian control of the military.

The Air Force went through a reform period in the 80s and 90s as most of the LeMay legacy retired. There was more emphasis on the airland battle and jointness. But when I heard about “Shock and Awe” I thought oh s*t here we go again.
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)
Old 05-14-2007, 03:31 PM   #11
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Re: Rickover interviews (for SoonToRetire)

Soontobe Retired,

I'm still in the Reserves - and yes, the cycles just repeat between bomber, fighters, bombers, fighters.........oh and while we're at it how' bout the tankers and cargo planes? With PB720, there is a basic swap of operating funds (read people) for capital funds to buy new....bombers and fighters - re-capitalizing the fleet because the O & M costs are prohibitive with very old aircraft - wonder if they'll have anyone left to fly them, maintain them or buy them when all is said and done......

Deserat
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