Tragedy and triumph . . . two words that sum up 1996 for the U.S. Navy-a year in which the Navy lost two Chiefs of Naval Operations and struggled to maintain readiness and meet increasing commitments worldwide in the face of decreasing resources and growing uncertainty at home.
As the new year dawned, age finally overtook Admiral Arleigh Burke. A sailor's sailor and three-term CNO, the 94-year old "31-Knot" Burke more than any other individual brought the Navy out of the apprehension and anomie of the early post-World War II years and helped shape the service for the nuclear age. His indomitable warfighting spirit and commitment to personal and professional excellence inspired the Navy's men and women about the true meaning of principled service to the nation.