The retired submariner had barely settled into his new job at Boeing Aerospace, Seattle when summoned by his boss to attend a special meeting downtown. “Someone who under- stands Anti-Submarine Warfare is needed, and yours is the only name that comes up on the computer. Sound like something you can handle?”
Torn between a lifelong penchant,and the need to get off on a good foot, beret reluctantly agreed. “What else can you tell me about it?”
The boss had already re-submerged into the paper stack on his desk. Raised eyebrows furrowed in annoyance. “You know everything I know. Got a call from PR and that’s all they told me,” and he reburied himself with the paper task.
Retsina mounted his trusty steed, an aging International Scout pickup, color fading, a door hanging limply and rust threatening to send the other to oblivion. He got it for his part in building a new home and figured correctly that on the day his family took occupancy, the Scout breathed its last gasp. But in the interim, it provided reliable, if not comfortable passage to and from work, admitting much of the weather that accounts for Washington’s nickname, the Evergreen State.
A newcomer in Seattle, significance of the Four Seasons Hotel had not yet settled in for him and astonishment on pulling up to top of the line valet parking service can only be imagined. Surely this was not the place, but a check of the address showed it to be so. He was conducted to the meeting room, plushiest section of the most plushy hotel in the city, further confirming a gut feel the company had sent the wrong man to the wrong place. Upon entering, retsina ‘s feelings of dismay were akin to those felt when as a junior officer he brought his boat too quickly into a finger pier at New London and knocked over a phone booth. Seated about a mahogany table were Washington State’s senior political figures, the Governor, a Senator, and a well-known Representative, all of whom he recognized immediately. The rest included insignificant he’d later learn to be CEO’s of Honeywell International and United Air Lines. The late Admiral Jack Williams retired and living in his boyhood hometown of Long Beach, WA presided over the affair.
The advice of Abraham Lincoln came immediately to mind, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” This counsel sustained him well. His advantage; he knew everyone, but no one knew him, and the others could only make speculation on the mistaken belief that Boeing had sent one of their true heavyweights.
Admiral Jack cleared up the Boeing Company perceived need for an ASW person. USS MISSOURI, mothballed and a significant tourist attraction at nearby Bremerton had been reactivated. Something was needed to fill the void. He promoted the idea of what later became the Naval Undersea Museum at Key port, Washington. The effort required funding able to be committed by all meeting attendees except, however only he knew that. It’s more than likely Admiral Jack saw through him like a newly washed window pane, but ever the gentleman, said nothing.
The meeting ran its course, and all assembled at valet parking area, to retrieve vehicles and exchange good byes. prayer that his ride would be the last to show went unanswered. The rule of last in first out prevailed, and the tired International Scout rattled into view before any of the others. He climbed into the truck, gave a sheepish wave to his astonished onlookers and drove off.
Several days later, a secretary shared by four level one supervisors stood in officer door and announced through an anxious expression that an Admiral was on the phone for him. It was Admiral Jack, of course. The two swapped pleasantries and the usual repertoire of sea stories. At an appropriate pregnant pause in their conversation, ret.rnb made the mistake of his life. “What can I do for you, Admiral?” he asked. A moment later he was founding secretary of the NSL Pacific Northwest Chapter