They say never let them see you sweat, so my staff and I have been in hiding for the past few days as we put the finishing touches on our May Naval Review issue, traditionally the year's most anticipated, but also the most labor intensive. In this issue, we run photos of all Navy flag officers and senior enlisted. Putting those pages together is the job of Amy Voight, our photo editor. Last year Amy pulled it off without a single complaint. That means she matched scores of faces with names, ranks, assignments, oh, and uniforms befitting the rank of the individual pictured. Did I mention the changes that she learns about at the eleventh-hour? We thank Amy here for her hard work and dedication. We plan to do it in person when we she returns from wherever she's gone. She ran out of the office screaming something that sounded like, "I'm done!" and "You'll see me when you see me!" Great kid, kind of emotional, though.
The May issue is more than pictures. The lengthy reviews of the maritime communities are the heart of the magazine. For those fine pieces we thank a handful of experts who each year answer our call. Years ago, in newspapers, reporters who grumbled about their salaries were told they got their real pay in bylines. These days reporters do much better financially. Here at Proceedings , though, we adhere to that grand old tradition. So, hats' off to the good men whose commitment to the profession of arms and the naval profession trumps their desire for an honorarium that in any way reflects all the hard work they've put in on their articles. Dr. Scott Truver (Navy). Commander Jan Jacobs (Naval Aviation), retired Colonel Mackubin Owens (Marines), Joe DiRenzo and Chris Doane (Coast Guard), Dr. Shashi Kumar (Merchant Marine). And we can't forget Samuel Loring Morison, whose annual list of Naval Battle Force Changes has a most dedicated audience.
We have done something different this year. We thought it more appropriate to publish the list of Marine Corps and Coast Guard general and flag officers and the senior enlisted of the two services in the issues that we annually dedicate to them. Thus, you will find the Marines in the November issue, the Coast Guard in August.
There is, of course, more to this issue than the Naval Review section. I especially commend to you our lead article, by retired Rear Admiral Tom Marfiak, entitled "Where Are the Ballistic-Missile-Defense Cruisers?" Admiral Marfiak, a distinguished former CEO of the Naval Institute, has unsheathed his pen and produced a marvelously thoughtful piece worthy of the prominent place it occupies in the magazine. Retired Lieutenant Commander Tom Cutler, who writes our monthly "Lest We Forget" column, does double-duty this month with his annual, and always engaging, list of "Notable Naval Books of 2007." And we welcome first-time contributor John McKay, a highly decorated retired Marine colonel who weighs in with a perceptive analysis of the U.S.-Cuba relationship in what appears to be Fidel Castro in winter.
A number of you were offended by Harlan Ullman's April column in which he argued that the term "swift-boating" should be dropped from the language because it does a disservice to the many men who served on board Swift Boats in Vietnam. I don't think many would argue with that. It certainly made sense to me. The complaints arose from Mr. Ullman's contention that the accusations leveled against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth—the genesis of "swift-boating"—were without merit. In the process, Mr. Ullman's seemingly noncontentious suggestion became embroiled in a rerun of the 2004 campaign. I should have anticipated that.
I'm going to bring down the curtain on this episode with the wise words of retired Coast Guard Rear Admiral Norman C. Venzke, who was critical of Mr. Ullman's column, but knows a no-win situation when he sees one.
"I strongly believe that it's past time to put to rest the issue of SBVFT vs. Senator Kerry, unless someone on either side has new factual information to provide."