The life of VADM J. Guy Reynolds was celebrated at a Memorial Service on 7 April with remarks from several speakers.
Admiral Bruce DeMars, Past Chairman of the Naval Submarine League, spoke extemporaneously. He said he wanted to
celebrate a life welt lived. He described Guy as a most unique person suitable for the Reader’s Digest feature Tile Most Memorable Person I Know. He characterized Guy as a towering intellect hidden behind a gruff exterior which he effectively used to disarm people. He had massive integrity- always strived to do the right thing. He had tremendous judgment; which he displayed in marrying Jan.
Admiral DeMars took this opportunity to recognize the wonderful family that surrounded Guy in his finals weeks. Their actions were admirable. He mentioned that Guy was a survivor. He was nearly lost overboard from the sail of the submarine he commanded when he went up to fix something he thought was too dangerous for his crew. He survived that. He survived a collision with a Soviet submarine. As Senior Member of the Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board he presided over the first and only failure of a nuclear powered surface ship in overseas waters. He had many conversations with CINCLANTFLT, the CNO and Admiral Rickover but he survived.
Admiral DeMars noted how he had rescued the heavy weight torpedo program and then was pressed into action to resuscitate the SUBACS program. We were trying to invent something for which we didn’t have the time, money or brains. SUBACS A was to go to a 688 class submarine for which there was not another combat system available. If this was not fixed we would have a large, fast vessel with no offensive capability- the first Littoral Combat Ship! Guy immediately changed the name to BSY 1/2 which took care of about one third of the congressional staffers. We then worked together to restructure the program, beat up on the contractor, pleaded with congress not to take away any money and used skimmed money from other submarine programs. Nearing the end we were still $60M short. It was Guy’s idea to go see Mel Paisley, the ASN (RDA). We met with him and the Comptroller of the Navy, a two star. Paisley asked all the right questions- had we skimmed our own programs, had we beat up on the contractor, and had we made peace with Congress. Following our appropriate answers he directed the Comptroller to skim $60M from the aviation and surface programs and put it into the BSY l /2 program. It was one of the high points of Guy’s career.
Admiral DeMars described how he and Guy would, during the warm months, stop off on Friday on the way home at Marco’s on Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria. They would sit outside in their whites and each have a martini before proceeding home. They discussed the preceding week and what was upcoming the next week. Admiral DeMars concluded by saying that all his memories of Guy are good, he misses him and will never forget him.
Daniel L. Smith, a Raytheon Company vice president and president of Raytheon ‘s Integrated Defense Systems (JDS) business, spoke as the representative of the industry side of Guy’s legacy.
“Jan, Jim, Cathy, Peter and Reynolds family .. . thank you for
allowing me the honor of paying tribute to Guy. All of us here today salute the dignity and life of Guy; as well as the patience, courage and loyalty of Jan. It used to be said that behind every great man was a great woman … in Reynolds World, Guy would lovingly admit Jan was never behind . . . quite the opposite .. . she was in front towing Guy to do his right and best work. She was the CEO; he only the President. As evidence, I offer that many of us waited every year impatiently at the Christmas holidays for the Annual Report!
Guy often said to us “everybody is a hero in the “O” club; especially after the 4th drink”. While he was known to imbibe a bit, Guy was not this style of hero … what he did mattered; almost always in multiple ways.
From Chicago to eternity, Guy lived his life to fight “the Tyranny of the Program Record”. He used this mantra to describe any situation which he found to damage the status or reputation of his Country, his Navy, his Submarine Force or his family and friends. He was relentless in his passionate belief that seapower was the key to American superiority and that American superiority meant global security. With true guile, he further philosophically
engineered that submarines were the true enabler to seapower (he once commented to me that greater than Zumwalt stealth was achieved by NAUTILUS (50 years or so earlier), as the boat had zero radar cross section at depth), and of course that nuclear power was the best and righteous power source for a U.S. platform this significant. All of this was slatus quo for Guy … the endearing part of him was his artistry in weaving his stories to make his
philosophy real and logical using three circles and a few bullet points.
Maybe the most famous of the Guy Ven diagrams was when he became the true father of Submarine Open Architecture in the mid l 990’s when he drew one big circle (network), two smaller but large circles (cc and sonar) in what became known as the Mickey Mouse chart. With this simple diagram he engineered the conversion from expensive stove piped proprietary electronics to affordable capability for the Submarine Force. I believe he also adopted, and began to groom, a young Rick Breckenridge during those intense days.
While most here, and those wishing they were here tonight, no doubt have personal life stories of Guy, I firmly believe that his greatest accomplishments are yet to be realized. The legacy of Guy that is implanted deep within many of his family, shipmates, friends and associates stretching around the globe (Australia tie story) is simply a legacy of excellence. Excellence as defined by four simple principles offered by Mr. Kip Tindell, Chainnan and CEO of the Container Store. Mr. Tindell said “Excellence can be achieved if we: l) care more than others think is wise, 2) risk more than others think is safe, 3) dream more than others think is practical, and 4) expect more than others think is possible”. These were without question the attributes of the Guy Reynolds we loved and salute.
Guy and Jan are integral members of the Smith family. They have helped us build our life, retire from the Navy, marry a son and a daughter, say good-bye to parents, become grandparents, live with cats and now start over with a dog. Over the last months, Guy provided us subject matter expertise as we searched for our first family boat. It is not by luck that we now own a 23.5 foot Grady White Gulfstream, fully inspected and accepted by Guy. The name of our boat, named in his honor, with Jan’s blessing, is Forever On Patrol. She will perform her duty on waters of New
Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee where evil diesel submarines will never go.
Guy always told retiring Flag Officers to “know who you want to work with, all else is negotiable”. We will always be honored he chose to work with us. He also often remarked “good ideas come after the first martini, and that would be a TanquerayUp – Ice Cold – with no Vermouth”. Tonight if he could, he would say to us “old truths never die, they are just re-learned … so keep learning”.
In closing, remember Guy’s rules of Washington … “You Never Win, You Never Lose” … you just keep fighting till the final bell and pray you made a positive difference. Have no doubt Guy … YOU DID … Fair Winds and Following Seas ’til we meet again!”
VADM Reynolds· fimeral se1:yice was at the United States Naval Academy Chapel with his burial with fi1/I militmy honors in the Naval Academy cemetery on 8 April 20/0. His son, Jim Quick. delivered the eulogy that is printed here. What a journey, what a battle, what a victory in life! Thank you for coming to celebrate the life of J. Guy. Guy led life to the fullest, which is honored by the wonderful tum out from all of his friends and relatives gathered here today. On January first, doctors at Bethesda gave Guy 4 to 6 days to live. Based on Guy’s incredible will, stubbornness and intent on not letting anything defeat him; Guy gave his family and friends 3 months of incredibly rewarding time to spend with him. Guy has had a tremendous influence on his family, his friends and our nation. Here are just a few ways to describe his legacy.
The Caring Bridge messages we have received from Guy’s fellow submariners, especially from his command on the PINT ADO are amazing. Guy loved hearing your messages and thank you to everyone who took the time to send them. It was a hilite of the day when we would read your messages to Guy. I’m still not sure about all the leg wrestling stories, but I will leave that to the participants. I’m also not sure how about many other subs that ran into soviet subs, but that may be classified information.
A Patriot –
Guy’s contribution to our nation is extensive. From naval, especially submarine duty, service in Vietnam and service with the defense intelligence agency, Guy certainly wanted to be on the front lines. There were many stories that he told that began with “Don’t tell your mother that I did this”
A Troublemaker –
I’m not going to talk a lot about this particular character trait in this setting but many of you have heard the stories. Don’t cross J. Guy.
A Father & Grandfather –
Guy always treated Cathy, Pete and Susan, me and Lynne and his grandchildren Lauren, Nick, Andrew and Vicky with wonderful love, generosity and respect. It was great fun this past summer to listen to him lecture Lauren, his first grandchild in college about setting and achieving goals in life. There was a lot of eye rolling around the dinner table that night.
A Partier –
Guy was a work hard and then have fun type of person. He always found time to enjoy friends and family. Based on the entries on his website he has had many fun times, but I will mostly cherish sitting on the front porch in Montross, shucking oysters, drinking beer, talking about life, business, our wives and an occasional cigar when brother Pete is with us.
A Brother –
Guy had tremendous love and respect for his sister And and brothers Bob and Jack. We spent many evenings sitting with Guy over the past few months listening to stories about growing up in Illinois.
A Gardener/Oyster Grower –
Guy loved his garden and his oysters. Years ago I did not quite understand it. You can buy all this stuff at the grocery store. After some reflection it was obvious that Guy got a lot of relaxation, enjoyment and satisfaction from his garden and oysters. These activities actually mirror his success in life. He used energy, creativity and thoughtfulness and got great satisfaction from his success. Sometimes he was too successful. He would go out to the garden and bring a bucket of beautiful tomatoes or some other creation and proudly present them to Mom. She would look at him with a loving smile and say those are
beautiful, but we already have 100 of them. Typical of an overachiever. Every season he had new ideas for his oyster containers, what vegetables to plant, or improvements to the garden irrigation system. Some worked and some didn’t, we laughed about the ones that didn’t and enjoyed the ones that did. One of the many memories about Guy battling cancer was a day in January when Pete and I were sitting with him at Bethesda. He started a conversation about buying a John Deer tractor. Then he wanted Pete and me to figure out how to attach his oxygen tank to the tractor so he could go and work in his garden. Pete and I smiled and said there could be some complications with that idea. That did not faze Guy. His next suggestion was that once we set up the oxygen on the tractor the next goal was oxygen on his jet ski.
A Superstar –
Shortly after Guy came home from Bethesda a fellow Admiral came to visit. I will never forget his comment when he left. He said Guy was the Superstar of his generation in the Navy. This was emphasized by the wonderful tributes given to Guy by Admiral Bruce DeMars, Admiral Kirk Donald, Mr. Dan Smith, and especially Brother Pete.
A Friend –
Our family has been blessed with the help of many wonderful friends. We greatly appreciate all of your love and support. Guy received a tremendous amount of comfort from Father Mandato’s visits and blessings. Thank you Father. Could you bless my wife a few more times? We had fun talking about how to best administer the Lourdes holy water that Father Mandato left with us … a simple cross on the forehead, just a sip from the bottle or the sip mixed with gin. Kevin and Becky Brenton have given us so much support with regular visits, and help with getting Guy outside with his wheel chair and oxygen during his last few weeks. After Guy spent 20+ days at Bethesda
receiving the best medical care in the world, he came home to having Mom, Cathy, Pete and I doing our best to keep him comfortable, keep his oxygen flowing and administering medication. Guy’s brother Bob and sister Ann arrived shortly after and while the work was hard, we had many rewarding and enjoyable moments spending time with Guy. Jane and Roger Sexauer were regular visitors and Jane’s tremendous support, advice and humor will live in our hearts forever. Guy always looked forward to visits from Admiral Bruce Demars. Admiral Demars stood as Mom and Guy’s best man when they renewed their vows after Guy came home from the hospital. Our family ill never be able to thank Rick Breckinridge enough for his contribution to taking care of Guy. From picking up Pete during a blizzard, to coordinating Guy and Mom’s renewal of marriage vows, to creating the Caring Bridge site, plus many other vital
roles, Rick has provided a tremendous amount of support. Guy’s friends from the submarine league have been a great help and thank you again to everyone who has helped make Guy’s final days as comfortable as possible.
A Husband –
Guy’s enthusiasm, intelligence, drive and work ethic led him to a very successful career serving our country as well as in the business field. But I know with Guy looking down at us today he would want to say that his most important success was the Jove and life he gave to Mom. Although he was occasionally in the dog house, it has always been clear that he was totally devoted to giving Mom the best life he could and he certainly achieved that goal. When he was in his bed fighting cancer he would say “I’m glad everyone is here to take care of Jan”. He looked forward to their dates each night so he could spend time with Mom and also negotiate for a little extra gin or wine. I have to report that he was usually successfully in those negotiations.
Guy would not want this service to be anything but a celebration of life. Although he has left us way too soon, I believe his message would be to live life to your fullest, work hard to achieve your goals and enjoy your family and friends. We will all have ways to remember Guy. Living in Portsmouth, NH I will think of Guy whenever I cross the bridge to Kittery and see the subs at the Shipyard. I will think of him when I see the ocean, open an oyster, open a cold beer, see a vegetable garden and most importantly visits with Mom.
Thank you for being with us today.