41 For Freedom  ||  Writings Page One

Silent Service = Not Noticed
A commentary on a line from a speech

"The Navy is a mysterious institution", said Harry Levins in Jan. 2002 at a Navy League council meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.

Read the full copy of the speech here

Mr Levins, a senior writer for the St. Louis Dispatch, is a former Army officer who served in Germany during the early '60s.

Levins' bio excerpt, copied from the archived text.

My commentary:

Levins' speech offered an informative and wry look at the Navy from the perspective of a ground pounder - but near the end of his narrative this phrase caught my eye:

"In the Cold War, you folks took a back seat to the Air Force and Army."

Now I really can't let that one slide. 

So I respectfully offer in evidence, as a form of clarifying enlightement to Mr. Levins - and for all other legs - this very small sampling. Three references, which I think will illustrate the fact that the USN was definitely NOT in any kind of "back seat" Cold War role. We just kept our mouths shut that's all.

Clues:   Boomers' payloads were NOT Hershey Kisses.    "Man the fire control tracking party" was not a picnic outing observing a brush fire in Iowa   and a "Crazy Ivan" was not a deranged Russian held in a sanitarium on the outskirts of Moscow.

The defense rests.

Sid Harrison - March 2002

A cordial e-mail response to this webpage from Mr. Levins

    27 Mar 2002 07:17:17 -0600

    From: hlevins@post-dispatch.com

    Dear Mr. Harrison:

    Your rebuttal falls under the category of Fair Comment, and I have no problem at all.

    But I <am> astounded at the circulation of that speech. To tell you the truth, it was an off-the-cuff effort. Somehow, it made the e-mail circuit, and it has generated a surprising amount of comment.

    Still, like most writers, I crave being read.


    Harry Levins