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Snow Alters Plans

Jan

28

Snow in New England in January — who could have expected such an event?  Blizzard Juno moved through New York to Boston this week, sweeping away my speaking engagements with the Electric Boat Management Council, Connecticut Magazine and Tom Pieragostini.

Linda and I flew into the area early, in the event Mother Nature changed her mind, a good idea since New York and Mass closed all their roads for a period and spent the days reading and watching the snow swirl.  We will have to replan for March.  Perhaps we can catch the dogwood blossoming.

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Against the Tide in 3rd Printing; San Diego Plans

Jan

15

Which will be out in February, but the publisher (Naval Institute Press) told me yesterday he still has 300 copies of the second printing available.

Linda and I are firming up our San Diego plans (7-12 February) if there are any groups in that area who would like us to speak.

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2nd Printing Available Soon

Jan

7

Amazon has just announced that they will have books available for shipment on 10 January — a good thing.  These books are from the second printing, which the publisher commissioned in December.

Jim Roy of the Electric Boat Managers’ Council has asked me to be their dinner speaker (Groton, CT) on Tuesday, 27 January. Given the critical role that particular shipyard continues to play in the development of our nuclear submarine force, this should be a interesting audience. The previous day in NYC we will tape an interview about Rickover with Fox.

February 7 to 12 we are in San Diego for book events coincidental with Navy West. The week of 16 March we will be back in DC to speak to Business Executives for National Security. There are also events at the Navy Memorial and the Ralph J Bunche Library at the State Department.

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The Birth of Nuclear Power

Dec

10

It has been instructive the last two years to watch Michael Pack (and his spouse, Gina) put together the Rickover documentary which showed on PBS tonight. Just as photographic art differs from the stokes that create a watercolor, a film-maker approaches his subject differently than a writer. Since Mike and I met only after we had chosen the same subject and begun our work, I found it interesting to watch how we choose different facets of the Admiral’s life and personality to polish in order to best reflect the story we saw.

Nice work, Michael and Gina!

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Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (Rhode Island)

Dec

6

This week Captain Howard Goldman and his staff permitted me to talk about Admiral Rickover’s leadership and management style and the lessons for today.  I hope they enjoyed the ensuing discussion as much as I did.

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Naval War College Museum

Dec

6

John Kennedy at the Naval War College Museum in Newport,Rhode Island, sponsors a luncheon “Eight Bells” discussions.  They are reportedly held atop the very same boards trod by Alfred Thayer Mahan as he expounded the theories that would become The Influence of Sea Power upon History. 

Who could resist an offer to speak in such a locale?  Certainly not I. Therefore Thursday lunch was an enjoyable ninety minutes with local residents as well as some who had driven as many as several hours to attend one of John’s famous events.

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Nautilus Museum in Connecticut

Dec

4

Spoke to the staff of the Submarine Force Library and Submarine Force Museum, where Nautilus, less her reactor, “floats” in a perpetual bed of concrete.  They, and their Officer in Charge, Commander Ben Amdur, have been our gracious hosts the last three days. We spent most of our time focused not on the fascinating story of how Admiral Rickover steered USS Nautilus to life in 1954, and more on why it was that nuclear submarines became so important to our Presidents in their effort to win the Cold War battle over communism — part of the focus of my recent book.

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Leadership Workshops

Dec

3

The Coast Guard Academy today graciously carved out some time from a leadership workshop to discuss how Rickover’s management principles fit into the five practices of Kouzes’ and Prosner’s “Leadership Challenge.” The discussion was two-way and lively.

Later in the afternoon, across a rainy Severn River, Captain Andrew Jarrett did the same thing for the Submarine Officer’s Advanced Course. Here we focused on the criticality of maintaining the culture of responsible safety that Rickover conceived and established — and that has possibly become his signature achievement.

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Speaking at the Thames Club

Dec

2

Admiral Dave Goebel and his wife Earline asked us to speak last evening on Admiral Rickover and leadership at the Thames Club in New London, Connecticut.  We focused on how upcoming defense budget events might affect the local economy and how similar these challenges were to those Rickover faced some decades ago.

Of course, given the local, several in the audience had personally known Rickover and thus were able to share their personal impressions of his management achievements, and upsides (as well as lesser sides) of his personal leadership style. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

 

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Renewing Old Ties

Dec

1

We invited the New London submarine commanders to a cocktail party at the Nautilus Memorial this afternoon.  I explained why I had written the book –the perceived rise of China and Russia, the impending budget battles within the Navy over the shipbuilding account and the recapitalization of the Trident force (similar issues to those Admiral Rickover faced forty years ago).  In addition, there is the current press focus on nuclear culture issues in the Air Force and Navy as well as the  impending assignment of women to attack submarines.

I also mentioned that the book documents events with Admirals Rickover, Zumwalt, Wilkinson and Kin McKee, all key figures in the development of the submarine force, that I am probably the only person available to record.

Attendance was minimal, although Linda and I did have a great conversation with Captain Dennis McKelvey followed by dinner with Admiral Dave Goebel and Earline, his spouse of fifty years.  The meal was excellent, as were the stories, except for the overabundance of barbs relative to who had spent most of the time caring for our respective families and who had been “relaxing” at sea.

 

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