Friday, October 10, 2014

Of the highest rank

My favorite U.S. President is Gerald Ford. I thought that I knew a lot about him - for example, the fact that Ford served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. However, I didn't know that he eventually attained the rank of Admiral.

Many of you are familiar with John Glenn - Mercury astronaut, U.S. Senator, and (before his Mercury days) U.S. Marine who served in both World War II and the Korean War. But I bet that you didn't know that Glenn also attained the rank of Admiral.

Perhaps you know about the feud between Harry S Truman and Douglas MacArthur. Despite their differences, they both had a lot in common. Both served in the U.S. Army, although General MacArthur rose to a slightly higher rank than Colonel Truman. But in one respect they held equal rank - both attained the rank of Admiral.

It may sound like some funny business is going on, but Ford, Glenn, Truman, MacArthur, and many others - Queen Elizabeth, Bob Hope, and Bill Murray among them - have all been named admirals by the Nebraska Admirals Association (NAA). This association, for the landlocked state of Nebraska, traces its origins to 1931:

In 1931, then Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Theodore W. Metcalf found himself to be Acting Governor for several weeks. To please some of his friends, he appointed "20 to 25 prominent Nebraskans" as Admirals; hence, the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska was born.

Eventually, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (the aforementioned NAA) was founded, and while all of the 100,000+ admirals are not active members, enough of them are around to satisfy the purpose of the NAA.

After receiving their commissions, many have asked, "Now that I am an Admiral, what are my duties, what can I do for Nebraska?" The NAA has the answer to that question, and perhaps much more.....

NAA's primary purpose is to organize the Admirals in the Nebraska Navy into a force for the promotion and enhancement of the "Good Life of the State of Nebraska," specifically:
•To promote education and educational activities throughout the state
•To promote tourism in the state
•To promote Nebraska products
•To enhance Nebraska's agricultural industry
•To seek and save Nebraska's sea
•To develop and maintain ports throughout the state
•To enjoy fun activities such as "walking the plank"
•To build Nebraska pride and esprit de corps
•To recycle Nebraska's assets
•To increase the fleet of flagships of the Nebraska Navy
•To continue efforts to have U.S. Naval ships named after Nebraska, its people and places.

However, as of 2008, future Nebraska Admirals must be residents of Nebraska.

Sorry, Mr. Springsteen.
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