I was thinking last night about a question I want to ask the entire group. How many of you have had your personal life affected by Admiral Hyman Rickover? Raise your hand.
Let me correct those who did not raise their hand.
It’s very likely that every human being who lives in the United States of America and perhaps in other nations have had their lives directly affected by the work and the dreams and vision of Admiral Hyman Rickover. He saw, under the most difficult personal circumstances and professional circumstances when he was a naval officer, the opportunity for the atom to be split for peaceful purposes.
Rosalynn and 1 were delighted when 1 was President and finally came ostensibly to be his senior officer. He never felt that way and neither did I. But we went out with him on LOS ANGELES and he mentioned, not particularly typical modesty that his ships propelled by nuclear power if placed end to end would be 12 miles long. And never at that time nor until today has there been a nuclear accident that caused injury to a human being or at least atomic radiation that might injure anyone. And it’s his legacy that truly affected the lives of every person on Earth. This morning, on his behalf, I would like to ask Mrs. Hyman Rickover to stand. Eleanor would you please stand?
I’m going to ask two more groups to stand. The second one are my classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy and their families. Could you all stand? It might take a few minutes for all of them to stand. Thank you for being patient. They can’t all just immediately leap to their feet.
And this is a good opportunity for me to thank Stansfield Turner for what he had to say. I might point out that when I received intelligence briefings from Stan Turner, he was in charge of every aspect of America’s intelligence. There was never any inaccuracy. There was never any confusion, and our country had the utmost quality of intelligence under his leadership and I want to thank Stan Turner for that.
And the last group I want to stand is all of my own kinfolks and along with them the people who served with me when I was in Washington. Would you all stand just a moment?
Thank you very much. Well I happen to have a personal affinity for this ship and the captain and the crew. I have been reminded recently of my time in the Navy. I received my dolphins. I pinned the dolphins on a sailor on JIMMY CARTER yesterday. I was on an old fleet type submarine in the Pacific during the Korean War and that’s when I first got my qualifications as a submariner.
Later, here in New London I was the first officer assigned to the first ship the Navy built after the second war, the K-1 and I qualified to command submarines here. And just a few months later while the senior officer on the crew that was building USS SEA WOLF, the second atomic powered submarine, I came here to watch President Harry Truman as the keel was laid for USS NAUTILUS. So my background and my interest and my commitment, my dedication and appreciation to the Navy is deep and everlasting.
I believe that this ship exemplifies the finest aspect of the work of Electric Boat. I was here as the only officer when they built the K-1, in ancient times, 53 years ago. I don’t hate to admit it even. But Rosalynn and I, in the last few years, have watched the miracle of design and engineering as SSN JIMMY CARTER has begun to come to life.
I’ve been honored in my life to be the governor of a great state. I’ve been honored in my life to be President of the greatest nation in the world. I’ve been honored since then as part of the Carter Center for our work for peace around the world. But the most deeply appreciated and emotional honor I ever had is to have this great ship bear my name.
I’m proud of the ship. I’m proud of Captain Kelso. I’m proud of all the officers and men who will serve in her because I know that their dedication is to us and to the ship’s extraordinary capabilities, many top secret, to preserve peace, to protect our country and to keep high the banner of human rights around the world.
On behalf of my wife and myself, let me express my deepest possible appreciation. Thank you very much.