In July 1975, I was transferred to Submarine Squadron FOUR Staff in Charleston, South Carolina. The Staff was located on the USS ORION.
After being on board for a year, I was deep selected, by one year, to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 and six months later to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade (Limited Duty Officer). A few days after my promotion, I stood my standard 24 hour watch as the Staff Command Duty Officer. It was a long watch as we had many ships in port and all needed some type of maintenance. We were working especially hard on the USS TUNNY, as she was departing the next night on a long deployment. At completion of my watch, I worked through the morning hours and at about 11:30 AM, the Commodore call me to his office to discuss the day’s operations. He asked me what my plans were for the rest of the day. I informed him I planned on going home to get some rest. Remember, I had just stood the watch the night before.
The Commodore informed me that I was selected by a special visitor to be that night’s duty officer. Yep, it was Admiral Rickover. The Admiral was coming to Charleston to inspect the nuclear capabilities of the Charleston Naval Shipyard.
The Admiral arrived at about 5:00 PM and proceed right to the Captain’s Cabin on board the ORION. He wanted to stay there because the bunk was comfortable. Before his arrival the decks above and below the Squadron level were clear and watches posted at the ladders. No one was allowed on the Squadron Level except me, my assistant and the Admiral. After his arrival, the Admiral summoned me. He informed me that he would turn in about 9:00 PM and would like to be awakened at 5:00 AM. He also wanted breakfast at 6:00 AM and that he would be departing the ship at 7:00 AM. The Admiral told me that I was to inform no one of his schedule. I told the Admiral that we had a submarine departing at about 10:00 PM and that he would be blowing his backing horn. Little did I know that when the ship departed the Admiral would be standing on the wing of the bridge, on ORION, to watch the underway?
This duty night was the calmest and quietest one I ever stood. I stayed awake the whole watch. All the time the Admiral was onboard there was no noise, not even a phone call. I woke the Admiral at the time he directed me to and ensured he got his breakfast. I then went down to the pier and ensure his car and driver were ready to go. At 7:00 AM, the Admiral came down the gangway and departed for the shipyard. Before he departed he gave me a message for the Commodore.
At about 8:00 AM the Commodore arrived on board. He informed me he was going up to see the Admiral and maybe have breakfast with him. I informed the Commodore the Admiral was not on board and he had departed sixty minutes prior for the shipyard. Of course the Commodore wanted to know why I did not inform him about the Admiral’s schedule. At that time, I told the Commodore the Admiral had ordered me not to tell anyone about his schedule and that if the Commodore had a problem he was to call the Admiral. I then handed the Commodore the Admiral’s phone number. That ended that problem and my watch. I went home and went to bed. That was my last personal contact with the Admiral but days later I got a very nice thank you note from Admiral Rickover thanking me for giving him a quiet night in Charleston.