CNO Sea Power Presentation Team


The growth of the Russian Navy during the 1960’s was a matter of great concern for the United States and the American Navy.

During the last 14 months (April 1970 to May 1971) of my four years in the Navy, I helped inform the public about the Russian Navy, and other subjects of interest about the American Navy, as part of the Navy’s CNO Sea Power Presentation team.

The Russian Navy … covered in a program called The Soviet Sea Power Presence …

CNO Sea Power The Soviet Sea Power Presence 1 Title Slide

… was by far the most popular and and most often requested subject of our presentations.

My Dad, who was then nearing the end of his long and distinguished Navy career, was also a member of the CNO team. He and I had a spirited competition to see who would be the first member of the team to earn the Centurion Award for making 100 presentations. Dad won that competition, giving his 100th presentation on April 12, 1971, while I gave mine four days later.

The CNO team was formed by then Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas H. Moorer. I was officially welcomed to the team by him in a letter dated March 23, 1970.

CNO Sea Power Letter from CNO Admiral Thomas H. Moorer 700323

Not long after, on April 1st, I gave The Soviet Sea Power Presence presentation for the first of the 82 times … to the Sun City California Retired Officer’s Association.

CNO Sea Power News Clipping Sun City CA Retired Officer's Association 700401 First Presentation of Soviet Seapower Presence

Dad and I were the subjects of any number of news articles about these presentations, including a mention in Lou Copozzoli’s “Military Beat” column in the Santa Ana Register.

CNO Sea Power News Clipping Santa Ana Register 700607

I traveled all over Southern California to give these presentations … speaking to groups in 40 different cities. The audiences included military units, school groups, political organizations, community groups, and service organizations, such as Kiwanis, Lions, Elks, Masonic, Sertoma, Optimist, Shriner’s and Rotary Clubs.

I have in my CNO Sea Power scrapbook a number of brochures and programs promotion these presentations …

CNO Sea Power Rotary Club of Long Beach The Rotarygram 700720

CNO Sea Power Wilmington Rotary Club Program 700831

… as well as photographs.

CNO Sea Power Wilmington Rotary Club JTR Presenting Soviet Seapower Presence 700831

Dad and I did one TV program together, discussing The Soviet Sea Power Presence and showing many of the slides from the presentation. The program, called “Urban Forum”, was shown on KCOP-TV in Los Angeles.

On August 11, 1970, I did TV program solo on KHJ-TV on a daytime talk show called “Tempo”, which aired in Southern California and parts of Arizona and New Mexico. After each of our presentations, we submitted reports to the program coordinator in Washington DC. My report for this show notes that other guests that day were movie producer Otto Preminger, a Hollywood actress (whose name I did not record) and a pilot and executive from Continental Airlines. My report also notes (in the last line of the “General Interest” paragraph) that the host of the show was none other than a then little known host named Regis Philbin!

CNO Sea Power Presentation Report KHJ-TV (Tempo) Host Regis Philbin 700811

Depending on the available time, we used up to as many as 60 slides in the presentation about the Russian Navy. Among other things, they showed some of the Soviet ships …

CNO Sea Power The Soviet Sea Power Presence 2 Soviet Naval Growth

CNO Sea Power The Soviet Sea Power Presence 3 Russian Submarines

… and the extent to which the Russians were exerting their sea power presence in crucial areas of the world.

CNO Sea Power The Soviet Sea Power Presence Exerting Russian Sea Power

My in-person audiences ranged in size from as few as 10 (the Alhambra Optimist Club) to as many 225 (the Long Beach Rotary Club and the State Convention of the California Republican Assembly (CRA), a very conservative political organization).

I did have an interesting experience with another Republican group, the Republican Women’s Club of Mission Viejo. A representative of the group contacted me about doing a presentation, the result of which I described in a memo to Navy Capt. Marr, the CNO team coordinator, on October 1, 1970.

CNO Sea Power JTR Memo to Capt. Marr 701001

Some things, it seems, haven’t changed much in the intervening 45 years! On the other hand, several Republican groups had no such reservations. Besides the state convention of the CRA mentioned above, I gave presentations to 10 other Republican organizations (most of them, unsurprisingly, in Orange County). I never was asked to speak to a group of Democrats.

In addition to the Centurion Awards, the Navy recognized the efforts of CNO Sea Power Presentation Team members with Certificates of Merit, of which I received five. Each came with a cover letter from the Chief of Naval Operations … by the time I received my first, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., had become CNO and he signed each of the letters I received with my certificates.

CNO Sea Power Letter from CNO Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr 700829 re Certificate of Merit

CNO Sea Power Certificate of Merit Fifth Award 710208

For several months leading up to my 100th, I led my Dad by a small number of presentations. Then, for a variety of reasons … including my impending departure from the Navy … Dad caught up to and passed me. Capt. Marr sent me a note asking if I had let him beat me to the 100 mark on purpose. I replied with the following memo to him:

CNO Sea Power JTR Memo to Capt. Marr 710426

My kids will confirm that that aspect of my personality never changed … not even for them.

In any event, it was just over 45 years ago … July 29, 1971 … that Dad & I received our Centurion Awards from Rear Admiral Joseph W. Williams, Jr., the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District. By that time, I had resigned my commission and left active duty.

CNO Sea Power Photo 11th Naval District 710806

CNO Sea Power News Release 11th Naval District 710806 adjusted

Looking back through my CNO Sea Power Team files to write this blog reminded me just how invested I was in the program. I spent hundreds of hours preparing for, traveling to and from, and giving these presentations, many of which took place during off-duty hours. And I had forgotten how many memos I sent to Washington suggesting changes to the program and its presentations, asking for more information and new slides, and otherwise making a pest of myself.

I suspect that the two captains who supervised the team while I was a participant wondered exactly who that lowly lieutenant in Long Beach thought he was (in one memo, for example, I asked why other team members were not keeping up with the pace Dad and I were setting!).

On the other hand, I know they … and the admirals for whom I worked directly … appreciated the effort that I put into the program. My last Navy boss, Rear Admiral H. V. Bird, Commander of Naval Base Los Angeles – Long Beach, wrote a very nice farewell letter when I left active duty.

Naval Base Los Angeles - Long Beach Rear Admiral H. V. Bird Letter of Commendation 710615

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Three Dot … 128

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Black Friday …


… is what we call the day after Thanksgiving … because it is the day on which retail businesses move from “red” to “black” in their annual ledgers of profits and losses.

Black Friday Shopping Crowd 1Customers are enticed to shop on Black Friday by sales, discounts, debuts of new merchandise and other marketing gimmicks … and respond in hordes.

Black Friday Shopping Crowd 2Oddly, the other best-known “Black” day of the week has a meaning diametrically opposed to that of Black Friday … this, of course, is Black Thursday …

Black Thursday Stockmarket Crash 1929 Brooklyn Daily Eagle… the day of the great Wall Street Stock Market crash in 1929 …

Black Thursday Stockmarket Crash 1929 Santa Ana Register… this was another day which brought out hordes of people …

Black Thursday Stockmarket Crash 1929 Crowd Outside New York Stock Exchange… though for different reasons … including a run on the banks …

FOT1207651… as people tried to withdraw their money before the banks collapsed … generally without success.

As an aside likely of interest to no one except me … I was born in Brooklyn, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, and near where the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was published … and in the 1970’s, lived in Santa Ana … where the Santa Ana Register was published. The Brooklyn Eagle has long since passed into history … while the Register (now called the Orange County Register) remains the primary newspaper in Southern California’s most conservative county … and I now live in Northern California, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge.

There are also lesser-known “black” days of the week … in fact, there is one for each other day … representing events of widely divergent meaning.

Black Monday, for example, has two meanings … one a mini-Black Thursday …

Black Monday Wall Street 1987 New York Times… which saw a major stock market fall in 1987 … and for you sports fans out there … Black Monday 2013 …

Black Monday in the NFL 2013… when no fewer than 7 NFL head coaches …

Black Monday in the NFL 2013 Seven Coaches Fired… and a number of other team officials were summarily fired.

And we had a Black Tuesday …

Black Tuesday Stock Market Crash 1929 Newspaper Report… which marked the beginning of the 1929 stock market crash …

Black Tuesday Stock Market Crash 1929… that reached its historic crescendo two days later.

Not to be outdone, the United Kingdom joins our “black day” list with a stock market crash of its own …

Black Wednesday in Great Britain 1992… in 1992 … called Black Wednesday.

Black Wednesday in Great Britain 1992 GraphAnd, as for weekends, we also have a Black Saturday … this one in 2009 in Australia …

Black Saturday Bushfires 2009 Victoria Australia 2… a day which saw the start of a devastating series of wildfires in the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia.

Black Saturday Bushfires 2009 Victoria Australia Fire SceneVictoria is Australia’s most densely populated state … and home to the country’s 2nd biggest city, Melbourne. The fires which started on Black Sunday ultimately killed 173 people … injured 414 … burned 1,100,000 acres … destroyed 3500 buildings … and killed nearly 12,000 head of livestock.

Finally, we also have two versions of Black Sunday … one of which, fortunately, is fictitious. The real one happened in Oklahoma and Texas in 1935 … during the days of the infamous “dust bowl” … when monumental dust storms swept across parts of those states …

Black Sunday 1935 Oklahoma Dust Storm 1… displacing an estimated 300,000 TONS of topsoil …

Black Sunday 1935 Oklahoma Dust Storm 3… some of which ended up as far away as the East Coast of the United States.

The fictional terroristic Black Sunday was a book of that name by Thomas Harris …

Black Sunday by Thomas Harris… who is perhaps better-known as the author of “The Silence of the Lambs” … and creator of the character Hannibal Lecter.  His terrorism book was also made into a blockbuster movie …

1219booklet.indd… starring Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern.

So, here’s hoping everyone who went shopping today had a good Black Friday … and that others, like myself … who wouldn’t have ventured out to a retail store today under any circumstances … had a nice quiet day at home!

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Three Dot … 117

We Moved to Mill Valley …


… thirty years ago today … August 22, 1984, Sandy & I and our four children moved into our new home on Morning Sun Drive in the Tamalpais Valley area of Mill Valley, Marin County, California.

This move culminated more than a year of planning and preparation which had started during a visit to the Bay Area for me to run in the San Francisco Marathon and check out the trail on which the Dipsea Race is run. During that visit, we had driven through Mill Valley on Cascade Drive … surely one of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in the world … and I had asked Sandy, “Why are we living in Orange County when we could live here?”

The answer to that question, of course, was that we didn’t have to … and so, here we were moving into the house on Morning Sun Drive.

Uprooting the kids from our home in Irvine, California, was not, as far as they were concerned, the most popular thing we had ever done … No. 1 son Douglas was about to start high school and was being dragged away from all of his friends … but we thought it best to make the move before school started, rather than waiting until our Irvine home sold, so that we wouldn’t have to move during his freshman year of high school.

No. 2 son Matt was about to start 5th grade, daughter Risa was starting 2nd grade and No. 3 son Sean was starting kindergarten … Sandy & I were confident that they would make new friends, but it was still a tough move for all of them.

Fortunately for Doug, we moved in directly across the street from another prospective Tamalpais High School freshman … who also happened to be, like Doug, a redhead … and who became the kind of best friend for life that most people only wish they could find … his name, of course, is Toby George.

Because the Irvine house had not sold, I remained in Southern California until it did … which meant that I didn’t actually move to Mill Valley until the following summer … and saw Sandy & the kids only during visits to Marin County. Once the house finally did sell … in June 1985 … I left the Orange County DA’s office, moved the last of our stuff to Mill Valley and went into private practice.

I have now lived in Marin County twice as long as I have ever lived anywhere else … and looking back over the past 30 years, I remain of the opinion that there is no better place to live than the San Francisco Bay Area and, in particular, Marin County.