U.S.S. Little Rock Association
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Interviewee: Captain William R. (“Bill”) Martin (1975-1976)
Interviewer: John E. Conjura
CONJURA: I am John Conjura and I will be interviewing Captain William R. (“Bill”) Martin, United States Navy (Retired), who served as commanding officer in CLG 4. This is tape one.
We are at the 14th Annual Reunion of the USS Little Rock Association at the Adams-Mark Hotel in Buffalo, New York. The date is 15 July 2005.
The purpose of this interview is to get to know Captain Bill Martin and from his recollections learn more about life and duty as Commanding Officer of USS Little Rock during his tenure in command in 1975 and 1976.
Captain Martin, you had a long and distinguished Navy career during the second half of the Twentieth Century when United States Naval forces were focused on containing Soviet actions during the Cold War. For background, would you summarize your Navy career experience, in terms of your service, education, training, and management and leadership assignments before assuming command of Little Rock in 1975?
MARTIN: I started on a destroyer in the Pacific in 1951. After having been for three years an enlisted cameraman at the Naval Air Station in Denver, Colorado, Buckley Field. I was commissioned when I graduated from college and went to the Frank Knox were I was the gunnery officer in the Korean War.
I went from there to the Russian language school where I got a Master’s degree, which was part Russian and part World Affairs. I served the first of what turned out to be seven to nine tours, depending upon how you counted them, in the Pentagon, having served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for two tours, in the Office of the Chairman of the JCS for one tour, in OPNAV, OP60, and OP92 (the Intelligence Branch of OPNAV).
I went back to sea and then to the Navy Post-Graduate School in Monterey, and was in the amphibious force followed by the Exec of a DDG, during which time I made five more WESTPAC tours. So it was back to Washington in between every WESTPAC tour, more or less. When I was finished with OP60, I went to the junior course at the Navy War College. I served later as the Executive Assistant to the United States Representative to the NATO Military Committee in Washington, Paris, and Brussels. Then, it was back to sea for two tours in the missile force; on the guided missile frigate Farragut and the missile frigate William B. Pratt.
Back to Washington in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where my primary duties were negotiations with the Soviets. During the course of this time, I was the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy for the Incidents at Sea Agreement. That was the agreement with the Soviets that they would stop running their trawlers at our ships.
I finished that and went to the National War College as a senior student. Back to the Pentagon for a tour in what is known as ISA, where I continued to negotiate various agreements in Washington and Brussels, Moscow, and Paris with the Soviet Navy. We covered other things including a rather humorous agreement which stemmed from the war in Vietnam. We were completing a treaty with the Soviets to stop weather warfare, which they were practicing in Vietnam to see if they could give help to the Vietnamese in stopping our bombings by creating the ability to cause heavy storms, typhoons and things like that. That was negotiated.
I went to the Little Rock in 1975, staying there until the end of 1976. At that time, because of my wife’s cancer, I was kept at the Bureau of Naval Personnel and assigned as the Military and International Security Affairs Assistant to incoming Vice President Rockefeller. Before I ever got to Rockefeller’s office, Jimmy Carter came in and he selected a Navy Lt. Commander as a military assistant and so the Navy had to withdraw me because we could not have a Captain in one job and a Lt. Commander in the other job.
I was picked up by the Deputy Chief of Navy Personnel and given a very unusual assignment. I was put in charge of the Navy Uniform Board on a daily basis. During which time I have two claims to fame: Claim to fame number one is, I spent two and a half years returning the Navy to the bellbottom uniform, doing the staffing, selecting things and presenting them to the Chief of Naval Personnel. I was responsible for the development of a pregnancy uniform for female sailors because there was a great hew and cry that they were traveling back and forth, particularly in Washington, in civilian clothes because there was no Navy uniform for pregnant ladies. They wanted, if they were going to be on duty, to be in uniform.
When that ended, my wife had been operated on, and I was assigned to the U.S. Navy Retirement Home as the Commanding Officer called “Governor” in Gulf Port, Mississippi. I was given marching orders to review the past thirty years and redo all the staffing procedures and to hire people with advanced degrees in gerontology and things of that nature. We needed something besides a lot of staff that were chosen because they were strong enough to carry around old sailors.
I retired after four years there. I moved to South Carolina, which is about as far away, where I was, as you can get from the Navy. Since that time I have had various assignments as a civilian, lecturing on the Soviets and the Soviet Navy to private industrialists who are starting to go into business in the Soviet Union and wanted to know what it was like to negotiate with them since I had done that for five years on and off.
When the Soviet wall fell, I stopped doing anything because nobody wanted to hear that anymore. I reside now in South Carolina.
CONJURA: Going back to your command assignment on the Little Rock, you took the helm as the 19th and the next to the last commanding officer before the ship left active service in 1976. Can you relate what your major challenges were at the time you relieved Captain Pete Cullins and did you accomplish all or most of what you set out to do?
MARTIN: Well, I suppose the major challenge was to get underway every time we had to, since the ship had already been over there for Pete’s entire tour and I was taking over for the last 18 months of its overseas stint. We were in Gaeta. The crew was wonderfully organized.
The first major challenge was the drug problem in Europe, where it was so easy for the sailors to go into Germany or buy in Italy. That was a continuing problem.
The second, my predecessor was a big sports fan. We had people on board the ship, I found out, who did not do anything but play sports. One of whom ran the athletic gear locker and had sold all his uniforms to civilians out in town. It took a little reorientation, along with the Exec to get that program to where it was realistic. From an operational standpoint the major objective was at one time or another, the evacuations of places like Lebanon and show the flag. We had the bicentenary in Europe as the house guests of the royal family in Monaco.
CONJURA: We all know that Little Rock spent most of her later years of service operating in the Mediterranean as flagship of Commander Sixth Fleet. The ship had to operate for long periods, thousands of miles from stateside repair and maintenance facilities. How did you cope with this major disadvantage, and still maintain the high regard Little Rock held throughout the fleet for her stellar performance when the mission had to be completed?
MARTIN: I think you would have to give full credit to the technical personnel. The missile house for example was never a problem. There was never anything associated with a missile problem. The engineering department of course was in its 40th year, something like that. They had continuous problems. First, because it was the last teak-deck cruiser, therefore the source of supply for the engines was always a problem. They had to go back to ships that had been decommissioned and scrounge parts and send them out there.
Second, we were far from technical support facilities except the civilian shipyard in Naples. So, some people had to fly out to see us for various problems. We had no problems at all that really kept us from operating normally, except in the field of engineering. The communications had been updated before the ship left the United States, three years before I got onboard. I would say if there were problems, we never missed a sailing date as is always the case with the Little Rock going back in history. We were able to overcome the problems with the aid of that shipyard down in Naples.
CONJURA: Besides the heavy strains placed on the ship itself, the long overseas deployments had to place a heavy burden on families and young impressionable crewmembers. How did your command meet these challenges and keep morale at a high level?
MARTIN: From the standpoint of the military personnel who were assigned we had an extremely close relationship with the Carabinieri in Gaeta, the homeport, and a very active program under the Executive Officer of indoctrination before entering any port that we visited. That included a lot of television time for him and me. We had closed circuit television of course. It included all the knowledge we could instill in a crewmember as to what the U.S. objectives in that particular country was, and some of these places were not necessarily pro-American.
As far as the dependents went they tended to live in a very closed area upon a hill, known as “American Hill”. It was all private housing in a public zone. They were all renters. Very few of the lower ranked who could never have afforded the prices had their families there. The families were largely people with a lot of military and naval experience. They governed themselves. There were no instances in our homeport of any friction between the sailors who were not living there and say the younger daughters of some of the people who were living there. We did not experience that.
Our major problem was that many of the people who came to the ship from the United States had not taken out any way of getting money home. So, anytime there was a crisis and there were a number of crises in Lebanon, it took some ingenuity, like getting someone to meet us at sea and take the mail home around the paydays to keep the landlords in Gaeta happy and of course the wives and children of the men who were associated.
CONJURA: As Little Rock cruised in company with either of the two carrier task groups which operated in Mediterranean during the Cold War, did you experience any unusual incidents with Soviet or other naval vessels, particularly those pesky AGI intelligence gatherers, “tattle-tales” as they were called?
MARTIN: Of course, I was very much experienced after having been the military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy at the time, John Warner. I had reviewed for two years what they were doing and how they were doing it. We had completed the agreement that the Soviets would not do it anymore. So, they followed that agreement and they did not run on us anymore. They did not come in from one bow or the other, but they stayed as close as they could to us and I am sure could overhear the conversations on deck.
We just pretty much operated the way we wanted to and attempted to not have them get in the way of the carrier by just being in the right place at the right time. That seemed to work very well. We did not have to maneuver for flight operations.
I don't know if this would be a proper place to put it in, but we were always the enemy force in any of the United States ship-to-ship operations in the Mediterranean. We were always the bad guy.
CONJURA: The “Orange” guy.
MARTIN: The Orange guy, yeah. We practiced a lot of the things that the Soviets were practicing. It seemed to work out very nicely. I think we won a couple of those wars, but I do not think the carrier commanders would ever agree. They always thought they won. So, it was very good, and of course, we had the Fleet Commander on board normally. In one of those U.S. to U.S. exercises, having been the Commanding Officer of USS America (an aircraft carrier), he left us and went over to the “friendly” force.
His staff tried to cheat by sending him messages. So, that he onboard the carrier would be able to get our positions. It was very serious but it was fun and games too at the same time. As I said, we did not do a single major missile exercise. Our biggest problem always was were to fire the missile, how to find a place and a time when we could use the missile system actually. There were only a couple of places where we could do that, so we got into the exercises instead.
CONJURA: Did you have any experiences with any of the Soviet attack submarines that operated in the Mediterranean?
MARTIN: Well, you see we did not have sonar. If they were there, unless we were escorted and, I would guess 80% of the time, we sailed unescorted by a destroyer at all. I know that the fleet staff was receiving reports for the commander that Soviet submarines were detected in one place or the other. He did not have to tell us because we were not an anti-submarine ship.
The answer is, no, we knew they were there but they did not particularly ever target us for anything.
CONJURA: An important part of the flagship's duties was to show the flag for official port visits to many countries around the Mediterranean. In your role as a key official at these many luncheons, state dinners, and aboard Little Rock in her own foc’sle frolics as they were known by the crew, did you experience any particular occasions of high drama, humor, or embarrassment and please expand on those.
MARTIN: To start with, the Fleet Commander was not oriented towards Spain, because he'd had command of a carrier in the Mediterranean and then fleeted up when he made Admiral to a two-star level to have one of the numbered fleets in the Mediterranean. So, by the time we got around to knowing him, he spoke three or four languages fluently, which meant that we did not get to a number of places that the crew would have liked to have gone. We did go everyplace on both sides of the Mediterranean, Casablanca, Tunis, and places of that nature; and also to Italian, Yugoslav, and Greek places. We did not have any unusual things except a stowaway on leaving Tunisia.
I guess when it comes to showing the flag and being with the Fleet Commander in Cannes and the guests of the Monaco government, we saw some of the most lavish parties that I've ever seen. They were very receptive, of course with Princess Grace leading the pack. That was an unusual experience for the entire crew, because they were treated well not only myself and the Admiral and a few others but the crew was furnished with buses and sight-seeing tours and dances in honor of United States. That was probably the best time to be in the Mediterranean, to have command, and have a ship full of healthy sailors.
CONJURA: It was a common experience for the Little Rock wives and families to arrange transportation and follow the fleet around the Mediterranean. Were there any occasions where you as Commanding Officer had to get involved to dampen the wrath of the wives when unforeseen circumstances or ships operations did not work out for the expected link up on the pier or fleet landing in a great liberty port like Cannes or Barcelona? Please, explain any of these situations.
MARTIN: If we had any really serious ones, since I did not live on the American Hill, the Exec did, and in general he handled the complaints from the crew if they were being received from the wives. No, no one ever directly accused me of hiding their husband.
One incident that was interesting is we picked up a stowaway in Tunisia. We could not get anybody to take him. He wanted to go to someplace in the Middle East. It took a lot of work to get him off the ship. The Italians would not allow us to land him. That was an international question that involved the United States Attaché coming down from Rome.
The other thing of interest, that was in the line of the dependents. We were permitted to make a dependents’ cruise. The wives flew and the ship went into Yugoslavia and there were no problems there. There were some operational problems associated, and you will come to a question probably and I will explain it then.
CONJURA: All right.
During your tour of commanding a high profile, major combatant serving as the Sixth Fleet flagship, can you recall any moments of great shock, fear, excitement participating in fleet operations, steaming independently, or in port tied up or at anchor?
MARTIN: There was one major event that you could not forget. We were selected as one of four ships to participate in the reopening of the Panama Canal.
CONJURA: You mean Suez, sir.
MARTIN: I mean the Suez, Suez Canal. Yeah, not the Panama I wish it would have been the Panama.
CONJURA: That was in Jimmy Carter's days.
MARTIN: I know, the Suez Canal, and the four ships included the one that embarked the President of Egypt…there were no Soviet ships. We had to steam up the coast past Egypt to get into the canal because we came from the south. We were steaming by ourselves, and the next morning we were supposed to join up at the mouth of the Suez and go part way through only as far as the lake. I was at the movies and the staff gave me a call and told me that they had received some verbal warnings from the Egyptians that one of their missile batteries was locked onto us.
These were in the days when the relationships between the United States and the Egyptians and most of that part of the world were tenuous. You didn't know from day to day when one of our ships would be shot at from Egyptian missile batteries. Well, the group that had targeted us were high-speed torpedo boats.
The way that was solved, interestingly enough, was that the ship and of course we had a sophisticated satellite communications system. We were able to communicate directly with Washington with the FLAGPLOT. We did not communicate with the navy in Norfolk, but directly with FLAGPLOT.
CONJURA: The Navy Command Center in the Pentagon.
MARTIN: The FLAGPLOT in the Pentagon. They picked up the telephone and called the Egyptian Embassy and the Egyptian Embassy thought about it for a little while. All this time we were sailing on and on and these ships were still locked on.
Finally, it turned out that the Egyptian Navy had not been told that we were going to be there. So, they did not know what they had coming at them. We were only ten or twelve miles off shore. They called off their torpedo boats, and we sailed safely into the harbor at whatever, I cannot remember the name of the lake. We had no other trouble.
Then on the way back, after we left there, we were going into Alexandria, Egypt. If you talk about fear, as we were coming into the port which was jammed with merchant ships all of which were Med moored. That is with the stern to the pier and the bows all pointed out into the channel. We had a pilot, as we were required always to have a pilot--even in our homeport. It was the policy of the Navy that we would not do it ourselves. Just as we were making turn after turn to go alongside the pier, the Egyptian pilot just threw up his hands and did not know what to do. Every time we made a turn, the current would drift us right broadside toward the bow of one of those Med moored ships. Finally, with enough screeching (and I learned a couple of Navy words during my life), he was able to get the two pusher boats up to full speed to push us far enough out that we did not hit any of moored ships.
During this time, the staff legal officer was one deck down from the bridge watching everything from his position on flag bridge. After it was all over and we did not hit anyone, he came in and said, “Gee I hate to tell you Captain, but I had to leave the bridge so I would not be a witness, because I would be the one who would convene your court martial.”
CONJURA: No fender-bender.
MARTIN: No. Oh, it would have been a major one because we would have gone just sideways into it. The current was directly on our beam. I don't know why the pilot did not account for the fact that that ship was not a destroyer or something like that and did not turn as easily. It turned too wide a couple of times.
CONJURA: Every Navy ship contains its cast of characters among its crew. Can you recall any officer, Chief Petty Officer, Petty Officer, or crewmember omitting actual names if you wish, who left a memorable impression on you or the ship's crew as a whole, and for what reasons?
MARTIN: I have already mentioned that we had the athletic history going on from my predecessor. This young man was in the realm of a character in everything he did. He was star basketball player. Among the crewmembers themselves, I suppose one of the great resources that I had was a Chief Bosun's Mate who is a member of this organization and whose name has now escaped me. He was very, very strong in keeping the crew together.
We had a junior officer who was on his third consecutive tour in Italy and who spoke wonderful Italian. He was a Lt. Commander, the Deck Officer. He could put on his Italian clothing, which he wore a lot, and go out in town and assist the Carabinieri with one of our major problems. Our younger sailors could afford to have four or six men apartments in town that they went to, and they could get in trouble with their neighbors, or they all had cars and one thing or another. Well, this younger officer, who was not the legal officer, would diffuse a lot of those problems so we did not have courts martial or something like that.
Finally, I guess the one man who did as much as anything was the Chief Engineer. He could not take “No” for an answer. If you told him we were going to get underway and he was in terrible shape down below, he would take steps on his own to try either to get hold of a tech rep from the United States, if there was time, or one of the technical assistance teams that were home ported in the Mediterranean. He left the Navy as a Commander, because he did not think he would get further promoted, and became a pilot on the ships between Seattle and Alaska.
CONJURA: Having command of only one of four numbered fleet flagships which were the Second, Third, Sixth, and Seventh Fleets, that was a very impressive accomplishment for a Naval Officer. During your two-year tour, 1975-1976, what were your greatest professional accomplishments, guiding Little Rock in her important role on the world stage during the Cold War? What was your overall impression of your tour on the ship?
MARTIN: I will answer that last one first. I was impressed actually with the conduct of the crew ashore. I have had other ship commands, three or four hundred in the crew where you pretty much had your finger on everybody. As a commanding officer, it meant that your department heads and their helpers, the legal team and things of that nature, had to do a lot to maintain not only the morale, but the actual day-to-day performance, professionally and legally.
I think I heard someplace that at the height of the cruise, while I was there, there were 440 some dependents living in Italy. That sort of turned the ship into their government over there. Even though there was a Navy Exchange, they needed things that the ship could supply for them, and take care of some of their emergencies. Our ship's Medical Officer, for example, became the doctor for the dependents and did a wonderful job. We had a dental clinic and there was also a dental clinic ashore. Our legal assistance team was the people who handled any legal problems that would have occurred.
All in all, it was a very satisfying experience right up until the day they confirmed they were going to decommission the ship. Starting on that day it became very difficult throughout the various ship's divisions and among the officers, because they had to make a decision. Did they want to stay on board or would they transfer to the USS Albany, which was coming to relieve us. A number of the really good ones wanted to stay in Italy, increasing the pressure because when that ship came back to Philadelphia to be decommissioned there was just one helluva lot of work to be done. It took some technical and elbow experience to get it decommissioned.
As I said, I was transferred back to Washington a month after it arrived in Philadelphia so the EXEC, Kent Siegel, had to face the last six weeks. I had taken one of the DLGs in there and we had been in Philadelphia Naval Shipyard at the same time that a battleship was being re-commissioned. On the day the another ship was put out of commission all the fire equipment was taken off of the ship--in one day. I could see that happening to the Little Rock in Philadelphia, where they wanted to get all that stuff off.
Then when the city of Buffalo bought the ship for their dollar, that process slowed down considerably. They knew that they did not want something to happen to the ship in Philadelphia that would preclude its coming to Buffalo.
CONJURA: For much of the Cold War period the Navy maintained an impressive looking gunship, or gun-and-missile ship like Little Rock as the Sixth Fleet flagship. Mostly due to budget constraints after the Little Rock era, tenders and modified amphibious ships replaced the cruisers. What were your thoughts on this move at the time, and were you ever given the opportunity to comment on this move?
MARTIN: Informally, the Commander of the Sixth Fleet who was living in the stateroom next to mine did not think it was a good idea. I did not think it was a good idea, either, because many of the missions that had been performed while we were there, for example, two or three times we were the gunship during the amphibious evacuation of Lebanon. Whenever we went anyplace, the ship with its missiles and its ray of lights and whatever bobbing up and down in the harbor was a very good sign of the American presence.
When the tender went in, they just did not have the same appearance. Too many merchant ships in the Mediterranean were not too dissimilar. Now the cruisers, they were the smaller cruisers, they were essentially missile cruisers not gun cruisers, and when seen from a distance the smaller missile did not really project the image of the United States. The main image is how the young sailors did when they left the ship.
If I had to comment I would say that as long as the ones that replaced the ones that were there when I was there did the same job then the difference would have only been in operational missions when certainly a tender was not going to be able to guard the amphibious ships evacuating a city.
CONJURA: Please weigh and discuss the importance of Little Rock as a key component in the chess game played with the Soviets on NATO's Southern flank, and would you summarize your view on how Sixth Fleet ships helped keep the peace for over half a century until the Soviet system collapsed in 1991.
MARTIN: As I said, I spent three years after I finished the Defense Language Institute in intelligence in the Pentagon. Then I came back to two tours in the Office of the Secretary of Defense before I went to the ship. During that time I went to two war colleges. So, all the truisms are that the United States can project its power overseas only by the Navy.
If you put soldiers ashore, they are faced with just exactly what we are faced with in Iraq right now. It is either boredom or too much. The Navy could be seen and heard without interface with the civilian population, if the ship stayed at sea.
All of our ships were prepared to defend themselves and unfortunately a couple of were not and got into trouble both in Korea and in the Mediterranean where they were shot at and in other places where Americans were captured on those ships.
The United States Navy is an instrument of diplomacy. It provides a very strong and visible presence in any littoral country or anyplace in the world. Since the ship was decommissioned, we've come up in the missile age, which is the concept of launching sea-to-shore. I think our recent history everyplace has proven that we can strike Baghdad now just as well from the ship as the Air Force can strike it, and we did not have to have an overseas base. That has always been the major thing that nobody wanted.
CONJURA: You summarized briefly before your Navy tours after you were relieved by Captain Kent Siegel in 1976, and you touched on some of the civilian employment and things you did. Would you care to amplify on any of those?
MARTIN: No, other than to say that it was very strange to… First when I was at BUPERS working on the return of the traditional naval uniform instead of the coat-and-tie uniform, the pressure was very strong from the Army and the Navy to see us not go back. They did not have a distinctive uniform and I think our dress blue uniform for a sailor is respected.
As far as the ladies and these were just major problems in a series of uniform problems, most people have no idea of what we spend on uniforms to outfit a hundred thousand new recruits. So, every time there was a budget cut everybody checked into the seabag to see what the Navy could eliminate. Especially when it was the coat and tie uniform, where there was inadequate storage aboard the ships and one thing or the other. Now, thanks to Admiral Zumwalt, we went through this period where the enlisted were permitted to go ashore in civilian clothing.
It was a unique experience. After we got the bellbottoms, my wife was hospitalized at Bethesda Naval Hospital. So, the Chief of Naval Personnel transferred me over and I no longer handled uniforms. I was put in charge of the office; it is PERS-8 who are the people that handle all the non-judicial bad guys of the Navy. I was just flabbergasted to find out that on any given day ten percent of the officers and men on active duty were in the process of being either let out of the Navy or referred to court martial on moral charges. That was an eye-opener.
Then I went from there to the Navy Home in Gulfport, which is 150 years old. It is a twelve-story edifice with 600 individual rooms. Five percent of the women who were at the Navy Home served in World War I, which was an eye-opener because, this was 1979. It was beautiful and it was free to all enlisted personnel who were accepted. The criteria for acceptance were: no criminal record, able to take care of themselves, and take care of their own finances and things of that nature. Once they were in, they were at the Navy Home for the rest of their lives. They have gone through several transformations at that place since I left it in 1983.
Now, it is run by a civilian board of directors. It is available only to Navy enlisted people. The one thing that caused that was, through political pressure, someone got the Commandant of the Marine Corps in as a resident. That was five or ten years before I was there. That was not true to what the home was designed to do. That was an interesting way to finish my career and I enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the President's Council on Aging and things of that nature as the Navy's representative.
So, what I did essentially after I left the Little Rock was really work with BUPERS on odd jobs. Once I was not able to go to the White House, and once my wife became ill, I was well resigned to know that I could stay in for an extra couple of years and work this out.
CONJURA: Could you tell us a bit about your family, community involvement, volunteer activities, and more importantly the type of vessel you currently command on Lake Wiley, South Carolina?
MARTIN: First, I had enough small boats in my life that I do not have a boat.
As for my family, my son has been promoted this year to Captain and he is currently residing in Mayport, Florida. He is going to be Wing Commander for all of the helicopter activities of an attack type. He is married and has two children. One is to be a senior in high school. This brings up a very interesting point for anybody who might be listening, i.e., ever since 9/11, my son has chosen not to live on base at Mayport. He would have had a set of quarters right on the beach, but the 9/11 regulations would mean that every time his children had guests that were non-military and did not have their own ID cards, a member of family would have to go to the gate to pick them up. So, he is living out in town in Atlantic Beach.
My daughter is on the staff at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She works in the Joseph P. Kennedy Institute on Bio Ethics, which is the input to various presidential panels on such ethical questions as stem cell research. Her boss, who is a Ph.D., is on the President's list of experts to call on all kinds of medical ethical questions. Her degree is, I suppose, the closest thing one could say is Pre-Law but she chose not to be a lawyer, so she is the Director of Acquisitions, which means she is connected by computer to all of the medical research units of significance in the United States, the Congress and the various universities. It is a very interesting job. She lives in Washington, and managed after two years out of college to buy a condominium on that small salary from the University. I had to admire her for doing that.
CONJURA: How long have you been a member of the USS Little Rock Association and how many reunions have you attended?
MARTIN: I have been to three. We are on 14, was there one the first year?
CONJURA: Different group.
MARTIN: OK, if there was one the first year I do not know that I was at that one, but I was at probably the second, I was in Washington at one, and I am back at this one. I guess you could say I have been a member 13 or 14 years and have attended three out of four of the total number of fourteen.
CONJURA: Do you have any final thoughts, observations or anything you would like to add to this interview?
MARTIN: Only that I think that those who are the directors of this organization are following the same ethical and crucial practices that made the ship good at that time--great at that time--in the way they run this organization. In the fact that certain names, and you know who they were, have served as officers and have fought through to get its status currently as tax free organization and has committees as we heard this morning who are devoted to something other than the USS Little Rock. They are in the community and they are supporting young people who want to get to college and do not have the money to do so with scholarships. The people who work on the ship are carrying on the old tradition like the couple of them I saw down in the lobby with paintbrushes in their hands.
CONJURA: Thank you Captain Martin, it has been a pleasure for me to sit in with you and assist on this interview. This concludes the interview with Captain Bill Martin.
MARTIN: Well, let me thank you and congratulate you on the hard work I know this is and it is enough to review your own career without reviewing somebody else's.
CONJURA: Thank you.
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