Whether I succeeded or not is for others to judge, but I believe few will argue that this is not a worthwhile endeavor, and it is Fred Rainbow who deserves our appreciation for it.
But we owe Fred our thanks for so much more as well. In those many years that he was on the Naval Institute staff, Fred's driving dedication to make Proceedings one of the nation's most important magazines was perpetually evident in its pages. He was determined, above all, to make the magazine an open forum where the free exchange of ideas could ultimately make the services stronger—a blend of the best of two worlds: the military with its dedication to defense, and democracy, where free speech is both an essential element and one of those tenets of that Constitution we service people are tasked to defend.
One of my favorite lines from the Broadway play and movie 1776 occurs when John Adams, in frustration at his colleagues' excessive caution, declares, "It's a revolution, damn it; we're going to have to offend someone!" While Fred was not plotting revolution, his pursuit of the open forum sometimes offended someone. . . or many. But Fred never let that intimidate him—in fact, I suspect that a side of him relished it, because it was one of the measures of success: if someone is angry it means they are reading the magazine; if someone is angry enough, he or she will respond, and an ongoing dialogue is one of the great attributes of this unusual periodical.
Fred's willingness to "rabble-rouse" did not mean that he was not completely dedicated to the services and their ideals. Like the parent who sometimes scolds the errant child, Fred "scolded" the services he loves by ensuring that the pages of Proceedings often provoked people into facing realities they might otherwise ignore. He was qualified to criticize because Fred was a wielder of the sword as well as the quill, having served in the U.S. Navy for several years during the turbulent Vietnam War era before coming to the Naval Institute.
Fred has moved on to serve in another important capacity. Miraculously, we have found a suitable replacement for him, but Fred's long watch at the helm of Proceedings made an indelible mark on this magazine, the Institute, and those it serves.
Lest We Forget: a special thanks to Fred Rainbow.