Glass Ceilings, Nostalgia, U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy — and ALL Society — Has Come a Long Way

Lt. JG Kit Smith and Admiral Nora Tyson

Lt. JG Kit Smith and Admiral Nora Tyson

Look at me, a one-time lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Navy, standing upright and proud next to a three-star admiral!

She is Vice Admiral Nora Tyson, Commander of the Pearl Harbor-based. U.S. Third Fleet, who talked recently to my Rotary Club.  She is the first woman to command a naval fleet — hers including not one but FIVE carrier strike groups.

During Adm. Tyson’s talk, one thing that caught my ear was a reference to global warming.  I asked her in the Q&A period if she might elaborate.  She said that if anywhere on the planet should be concerned, it’s the Hawaiian Islands, exposed as we are to rising sea levels.  And yes, she said, strong evidence exists that it’s happening.

Doing some research on U.S. naval history — and women’s role in it — I found the name Lenah S. Higbee. For her achievements in leading the Nursing Corps through the First World War, Chief Nurse Higbee was awarded the Navy Cross, the first living woman to receive that medal.

I remember that the destroyer USS Higbee, named for her, was part of the same four-ship destroyer group as the USS Eversole on which I served.  (I got my commission through an NROTC program in college.)

But I hadn’t known until just now that the Higbee was named for a woman!

Let’s face it, guys, women are extraordinary. And God has blessed my life with my beloved (and wise) wife Margie and three wonderful daughters — each special in her own way.

Thank you, Admiral Nora Tyson, for inspiring me this day!


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