Submarine commander Edward L. "Ned" Beach Jr. was looking forward to a rather ordinary shakedown cruise in early February 1960. Nothing could have prepared him for what the Navy had in mind.
As skipper of the USS Triton (SSR[N]-586), the world's largest, most advanced submarine, Captain Beach was eager to set sail. A hint something unusual was about to happen came in a telephone call on 10 February ordering him to fly to Washington. He was to dress in a civilian suit to avoid being recognized as the famed World War II sub captain who wrote the bestselling book Run Silent, Run Deep.
At the Pentagon, Beach, 42, slipped unnoticed into the office of the deputy chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Operations. There, he was surprised at the gathering-Admiral Wallace M. Beakley, the crusty deputy chief, plus other admirals, captains, and commanders, some of whom he recognized. Beakley, whose severe countenance could freeze an officer or enlisted man, sat at a large table on which charts of the world's oceans were spread. He looked up as the door closed and bluntly came to the point.