In Her Own Words: Carroll C. Brooks
The Naval Institute Press is a pearl. I come from a family of writers and am very aware of the power of the printed word. The Institute, with its emphasis on writing and history, appeals to me. The books the Press publishes, and those the Institute reviews, educate, inform, and entertain—but most important, they teach. I appreciate what the Institute offers to young naval professionals. I think it’s fair to say that your education truly begins when you graduate. There is so much to learn and too few opportunities and resources available to do so.
Unfortunately this is, by and large, a country with a very limited sense of history. The British still commemorate the Battle of Waterloo after nearly 200 years, but I’ve seen TV reporters around Times Square on December 7th asking passersby what the date means to them—and many haven’t a clue. Who was it who said that if you do not learn from the past you are condemned to repeat it? Giant though our country is and borders notwithstanding, we are an island nation—which makes a strong Navy imperative. It is from the seas that we will defend our borders.
Admiral James Loy Oral History is Now Available
The Naval Institute has recently added to its oral-history collection the life story of Admiral James M. Loy, former Commandant of the Coast Guard (1998–2002) and former acting and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. Between August 2002 and August 2006, Admiral Loy sat for a series of 15 interviews with historian Paul Stillwell. In the following excerpt, he discusses an overseas trip while serving as Commandant.
We had been in Malta on extended International Maritime Organization business and were heading home. The Commandant’s plane at that time couldn’t make it all the way to Andrews Air Force Base against the prevailing winds without refueling, so we were slated to cross through France and make an interim fuel stop in Iceland.
We approached Keflavik in a hell of a snowstorm. To make it worse, when the pilot put the landing gear down, the chip lights indicated the port wheel wasn’t down and locked. As it turned out, the wheel was okay—it was just the indicator light that wasn’t working—but it meant we couldn’t leave anytime soon in that plane.
Serendipity is a wonderful ally on occasion. Sitting right beside us on the runway was an Air Force C-5. I asked my aide to go see if we could catch a ride if they were going our way. He came back and said, “Nope. They say no passengers. It’s the President’s aircraft. They’re bringing the President’s helicopters back from Europe where they’ve been deployed.” So I asked the pilot to go over and talk to the aircraft commander. He came back with the same story.
I was actually getting pissed, so I said, “Okay, here’s a very limited message to take back to this guy. Tell him he either gets an okay out of Air Force circles to bring the Commandant of the Coast Guard and a party of six travelers from Keflavik to Andrews—or I will call the White House and have this resolved in the next 30 minutes.”
Over came the word, “Can’t help it.” So I called my good friend Goody Marshall, President Clinton’s Cabinet Secretary, and asked him to fix this for me. Pretty soon, here comes this Air Force captain prancing across. He said, “Well, it looks like we can take you, sir!”
The funniest part was in the course of the trip back—we’re in the passenger section of the C-5—and up came an airman with box lunches and a request to reenlist one of their crew at 30,000 feet, which I was honored to do. Then, he said to me, “Hey, do you want to see the President’s helicopters?” This was the reason we couldn’t even get on the plane—but now it was okay for us to climb all over the damned things.
Naval Institute oral histories are made possible through donated funds. Our thanks to Rear Admiral Sidney A. Wallace, USCG (Ret.), John A. Burt, and Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD., for their generous assistance with Admiral Loy’s history. For information about opportunities to support the history program, please contact Sue Sweeney at (410) 295-1054 or at [email protected].
Advancing the Next Generation of Naval Leaders
The following is an update on sponsored Naval Institute membership for Sea Service midshipmen and cadets to date for the 2013–14 academic year:
• NROTC Units: 22 of 58 sponsored
• U.S. Naval Academy Companies: 12 of 30 sponsored
*• U.S. Coast Guard Academy Companies: 8 of 8 sponsored
• Note: Students attending the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Marine Senior Enlisted Course, and the Coast Guard Senior Enlisted Leader Course will be given the opportunity to become sponsored student Members thanks to a generous donor.
*87 percent of the Class of 2014 are sponsored student members
For more information and to sponsor midshipmen at your alma mater, please visit www.usni.org/donate-student-memberships or contact Heather Lancaster at (410) 295-1048 or at [email protected].