James W. Vernon served aboard the carriers USS Randolph and Ticonderoga during the Second World War, flying Hellcats with three Air Group 87 squadrons. Before the war’s end, he saw combat in Okinawa and Japan. After the war, Vernon earned a PhD in geology, served in Korea as a photographic intelligence officer, and retired from the Naval Reserve as a lieutenant commander. As president of a geological scuba diving consulting company, he pioneered the application of manned submersibles to commercial geological exploration.