Why is a retired Air Force major—and a West Pointer—a Life Member of the U.S. Naval Institute and a member of its Leadership Circle donor society? It all started with an influential series of books and a television show.
No surprise: The books were the C. S. Forester Hornblower series. Reading and rereading them gave this Air Force brat a burning interest in everything “Navy.” The second part of the one-two punch was The Men of Annapolis, a black-and-white TV series that ran in the early 1960s. The tales of demerits, gloves, and sacrifice so impressed me that I wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
I went to the town library my sophomore year and looked at the Naval Academy catalog for what to do to prepare. I joined sports teams, various clubs, the debate team—activities to improve myself. I did miss one detail, however. A year before I graduated high school, I read “Regulations Governing the Admission of Candidates into the United States Naval Academy as Midshipmen in 1964.” It said the minimum visual acuity was 20/20. Damn, I wore glasses. I wasn’t going to the Naval Academy.