In 1618, in one of the trigger events of the Thirty Years War, infuriated Protestants, fearful that their right to practice their religion was under assault, threw two Catholic aristocrats and their secretary out of a third-floor window of Prague’s Hradčeny Castle to the courtyard seventy feet below. Astonishingly, some said miraculously, the trio survived the fall. The event has gone down in history as the “defenestration of Prague.” Eventually millions died in combat, of famine, and from the epidemic diseases that swept the Holy Roman Empire during the bitter religious war that followed.
“Defenestration” seems to be an apt word to describe the recent fate of Admiral Bill Moran, U.S. Navy, who was nominated by the President in April and confirmed by the Senate in May to become the Navy’s thirty-second Chief of Naval Operations in midsummer following the retirement of the incumbent, Admiral John Richardson. Late on 7 July, just weeks before he was scheduled to take over the historic leadership post, Moran stunned the service and official Washington by announcing his immediate retirement.