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Low Ranking Secretary of the Navy

Posted by aaron on February 19, 2008

Got this kickass story from Gunner

John Lehman was the US Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987. He was also in a rather unique position being an active Navy Reserve flier as a Bombadier-Navigator on the A-6 Intruder. In the rank of Commander, he certainly was nowhere near the highest ranking officer where ever he went. However, as Secretary of the Navy he established Naval policy, sat at the very top of the Navy chain-of-command and every Admiral in the Navy answered to him. Never the less, when we put on the Navy uniform, he was just another Commander.
Lehman typically would do his required Navy Reserve training at NAS Oceana, not far from his Secretary’s offices in Washington DC. He enjoyed talking with the guys in the back bar at the club. On one such night the Base CO, Dynamite, walked in, spotted Lehman and walked over to apologize along the lines of "Mr. Secretary, I’m sorry, my staff didn't tell me you were aboard the station." Lehman said "That's OK Skipper, I'm just here as a weekend warrior bagging some flight time." Cramer replied, "OK Commander, then get a f*cking haircut and be in my office at 0800!"
Lehman immediately walked across the street to the BOQ barbershop!
Gotta love Dynamite!

A-6E Intruder
Photo by Michael Freer


Posted by ChuckBerlemann on
He flew with my squadron while on a visit to our ship. Of course everyone was running around like chickens with their heads chopped off. Somehow, I've never seen this before or since, while in the jet, engines running, ready to taxi to the cat, he pulled the rip cord on the parachute. That could have been a disaster. Luckily, a quick change to the spare jet got him off the deck for his flight. Despite this very rookie move, I have to say that I think he did more to further Naval Aviation during his tenure as SCNAV than any of the others I served under in my 24 years.
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