Former Submariner, President Carter Stokes Controversy
Jimmy Carter challenges Congress to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which he termed the only law in America today that regulates a group of citizens then prohibits them from identifying themselves and speaking up on their own behalf. link to source
Chosen by Admiral Hyman Rickover for the nuclear submarine program, Carter was then assigned to graduate studies at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. in 1953.
Curiously, USNA graduate Carter shared attendance at Union College with an erstwhile predeccessor, Philip Spencer, whose subsequent error of judgement during a midshipmen training cruise of 1842 actually accelerated the founding of the USNA.
Spencer (son of the U.S. War Secretary) and two confederates were found guilty of determined attempt to commit a mutiny. The three were hanged from the yardarm of USS Somers. The incident cast sharp doubt on the wisdom of sending midshipmen directly aboard ship to learn by doing. The Somers mutiny shocked the country.
Through the actions of Secretary of the Navy Bancroft, the Naval School was established in 1845 without Congressional funding, at Fort Severn, Annapolis, Maryland. By 1850, the Naval School became the United States Naval Academy.
All of this raises old questions anew:
Are Modern Submariners Really Pampered Wimps? link to sources
Does former President Carter support assignment of females to U.S. Submarine Crews? link but nothing indicative of President Carter's personal opinion on this matter.
Can Submarine Commander Fix the Military Academy with the Feminine Gender? link to sources
Did Adm. Rickover first approve Lt. Carter for the nuke program and then disapprove him as an Anonymous source has suggested? link to this anonymous comment:
When he ran for office the first time he claimed to be a "nuclear sub sailor'. Although he never actually served on a nuke. My guess is Rickover approved him and then disapproved him. The reason he went back to the farm was pretty weak.
Vigilis, for one, does not believe Rickover expelled Carter from the nuclear power program.
- Carter actually served on the conventional submarine Pomfret and was on the precommissioning detail of the USS K-1. Upon selection by Rickover, he was studying to become the engineering officer for the nuclear submarine USS Seawolf (SSN-575), whose keel would not be laid down until September 1953.
- Upon his father's death (July 1953) Lt. Carter immediately resigned his Navy commission and was discharged on October 9th of that year. He never commanded a nuclear submarine, as the first (Nautilus) was not launched until 1955. Carter returned to Plains, GA to manage his family's expanding peanut farming business. This departure was not unprecedented and it was neither dishonorable nor irrational.
- We must be indebted to the service of every president as Commander-in-Chief, alone. President Carter also served our country as a Naval Officer and one of the world's pre-eminent human rights champions. During his presidency, Carter oversaw the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for "decades of untiring efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflict." OPINION: While it is common and easy to find fault with another's politics, Carter has been an honorable, diligent man, and we should view his brief naval career and namesake SSN-21 as serendipitous for the submarine service. Disclosure: Vigilis may or may not have attended Union College, himself.