Throughout the course of our lives, we make many friends. One who brightened my existence from the early 1990s until his passing earlier this year was a retired naval officer, Lieutenant Commander George Van. I first heard from George in early 1993. He had just moved to Maryland and wanted to know if he could help the U.S. Naval Institute.
When we first met, I encountered a man in his mid-60s with close-cropped gray hair, a thin mustache, and an impish personality. He had retired from several jobs and was looking for something to do. I learned that after high school he had worked and attended junior college before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1944. Thanks to his 90-words-per-minute speed on a keyboard, he served as a clerk-typist with Marine units in Gulfport, Mississippi, and Miramar, California.