In June 1954 I was beginning my first-class year as an NROTC midshipman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For our summer cruise I was sent to Norfolk, Virginia, with orders to report to the USS Macon (CA-132), little knowing that she carried the flag of Cruiser Division 6 and Rear Admiral Arleigh A. Burke as COMCRUDIV 6.
As we got under way on 6 June 1954, the officer in charge of the midshipmen detachment sent for me. He informed me that I was being assigned to Admiral Burke's staff for the duration of the cruise. I would still attend gunnery, navigation, and seamanship classes, but my primary responsibility was to the admiral. A Naval Academy midshipman was also assigned the same duty.