Admiral Bruce DeMars Oral History Is Available
The Naval Institute has added to its oral-history collection the life story of Admiral Bruce DeMars, the former director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion and a 55-year Institute member. As a lieutenant (junior grade), DeMars served on board the first Polaris missile submarine, the USS George Washington (SSBN-598), in 1961–62. In this excerpt from his oral history he recalls a young reservist he met during this period.
On one patrol, the XO called me in and said, “Bruce, the Navy’s got a new program. They’re going to put reserves on nuclear submarines. Because you’re A-gang and you can use a fireman, he’ll be a fireman.” I said, “Sure, fine. How hard can that be?”
So this kid showed up, John Melvin. He was from Boston, 18 years old, never been to sub school, never been to boot camp. But he was hardworking, dedicated—a nice young guy. So we did get on with him, worked him hard, and he responded to everything.