He served on board the USS Essex (CVA-9) during the Korean War and went on to become a successful entrepreneur and an accomplished mountain-climber. Dick Bass says being a naval officer helped him mature and was sound training for the rest of his career. Here's his story.
For an Oklahoma boy raised in Texas, I've crammed an awful lot into my 80 years. I've climbed Asia's Mount Everest, and scaled the highest peaks on the six other continents. I've managed the family oil-and-gas business and ranching operations. And I've developed and operated one of America's biggest ski resorts. My first job, though, was for Uncle Sam—as an ensign in the Naval Reserve.
For the life of me, I can't remember why I chose the Navy. I'd gotten into Yale University at the tender age of 16, and had been bent on signing up for some kind of officer-training course. I had been in junior ROTC in high school, and I liked the spit-and-polish and discipline that the military seemed to offer. I signed on as a contract NROTC midshipman at the start of my sophomore year.