Cathy and I both graduated with the Naval Academy Class of 1983 and became familiar with the Naval Institute and Proceedings magazine as midshipmen. Knowing about and visiting Preble Hall (where the Institute was headquartered at the time) were part of our required rates and plebe “yard gouge.” Frankly, the Institute was not on the forefront of our minds during those days! Years later, as a young surface warfare officer, I read my destroyer wardroom’s copy of Proceedings and came to appreciate all the great features.
During my tour at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, when I had more time to read, I discovered that the stories, articles, and sections of Proceedings were increasingly relevant to my work as I prepared to return to the fleet. Specifically, I saw the value of the solid dialogue on the pages by real fleet sailors and warfighters—articles about the three-dimensional “up, out, and down” aspects of surface warfare: ballistic-missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, and surface strike. At that point, Cathy signed me up for membership in the Naval Institute so I’d have my own copies of Proceedings. My two favorite annual editions were (and still are) the Surface Warfare and Naval Review issues.
As I was promoted, I recognized many of the authors as people I had worked for, worked with, or who had worked for me. Legends of the SWO community such as Admirals Bob Natter, Jim Stavridis, John Harvey, Mike Mullen, Doug Crowder, and Tom Copeman—and future legends such as Admirals Jim Kilby, Tom Druggan, and Fred Kacher—who told it like it is! It was this sense of camaraderie and honest, introspective writing tying the broader maritime community together that kept me coming back year after year.
I was in my final years of active duty when I met Vice Admiral Pete Daly. I watched and admired as Pete took the Naval Institute to new levels and modernized it for the 21st century. After I retired in 2012, we learned about the opportunity to bring Naval Institute memberships to students at the Naval Academy by sponsoring a company of midshipmen. We still sponsor memberships for Cathy’s old company, the 20th Company. It is our small way to give back by sharing an institution that has served alongside us for so many years.
Another outstanding feature of the Naval Institute we really enjoy is the superb conferences and the high caliber of speakers the Institute attracts. Cathy was particularly impressed with the Athena Conference (commemorating 40 years of women at the Naval Academy), and I have enjoyed the Maritime Security Dialogues here in Washington, D.C., and the vibrant WEST conferences in San Diego.
As a result of our wonderful experiences over these past few years, we decided we could increase our support of the Naval Institute and its strategic priorities. Last year we made the decision to help with funding for the new conference center.
Cathy and I have been very fortunate through the years—blessed with good health, great kids, good friends, and a wonderful career in the Navy. That all started four decades ago at the Naval Academy where we met and were first introduced to the Naval Institute. We hope through our engagements and sponsorship that others can gain an even earlier appreciation for what the Naval Institute does for our Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard around the globe!
We had slowly accumulated huge stacks of Proceedings and dutifully moved them as part of my professional books/household goods allowance between each duty station. By 2015, we had a least 25 years of magazines—not a small amount to lug around. Pete Daly told me that as part of its evolution to the 21st century, the Institute had “gone digital,” so everyone could access and enjoy the Institute’s rich maritime heritage. I decided then to get rid of our paper copies. A few months later at the Naval Institute’s Annual Meeting, I mentioned to Pete what we had finally done. In characteristic Daly style, Pete deadpanned that the Institute had reversed its decision and decided not to digitize. He had me going the entire evening, regretting what I thought we had lost. (Of course, the Institute has digitized its entire history of Proceedings and Naval History magazines, thanks to generous donor support!)