General Powell

It was a quiet afternoon inport Norfolk, an unusual one without any planned events or visitors.  The leadership team was at Planning Board for Training.  The 1MC crackled to life with four groups of two bells, followed by “Joint Staff, Arriving.”  Then it starts another group of eight bells.  The XO gets a funny look on his face, levitates horizontally, and leaves the wardroom without touching the PRC decking.  Meanwhile, DHs and CMC race to their spaces to prep for a tour.

Well, it was Gen Powell, on an unannounced visit.  (Don’t recall the Admiral accompanying him.)

We conducted a no-notice VIP visit.  Afterwards, Get Powell addresses the crew on the 1MC.  He states how nice it is to do a visit where he doesn’t have to smell new paint – saying everywhere he goes has been freshly painted.  Ride in a tank – nothing but new paint smell, etc.  He complimented us on looking good without fresh paint.

Of course, the department heads are thinking – if we only had an hour we could have repainted for the visit *.

* Particularly that infernal internal non-skid decking, which looked a year old after a single fire drill.

** Don’t recall who was the inport OOD that afternoon. But the watch flawlessly executed the arrival and departure without any rehearsal or warning. But that was life on DDG51 in the early days – no notice flag visits just happened. Memory says we had a similar visit from ADM Boorda. But in his case, you don’t even have the warning of seeing an official sedan, he just walked down the pier.

I was in CIC, we were doing an ACTS scenario as I recall, when we heard “Joint Staff, arriving.” We looked at each other like “wut?”

XO sticks his head in and says “clean this place up!”

General was a true gentleman. After he departs, CO Morgan looks at me and says “I guess I should let the Commodore know huh Bob?”

Bob Corrigan

I was at that PB4T and remember Rick Easton breaking the laws of physics by moving faster than the speed of light when the quarterdeck rang those eight bells.

Mark Vandroff

Fondly recall that day well! I was on the bridge with my guys, heard the bells, ohhh shxx! We had charts spread all over the bridge laying tracks for our transit down to the South Puerto Rico operating areas. By the time the VIP group made it the bridge (about 15 minutes after being bonged onboard), the bridge was cleaner than a surgical operating room. Truly great experience, General Powell, Cinclantflt, Capt Morgan, XO, the aides and more entered the bridge. Capt. Morgan introduced me , General Powell was gracious in his appreciation to Navy Chiefs. I gave a quick tour and will never forget his relief that there was no wet paint! “I only do surprise visits because I get headaches from wet paint, and you all have more important work to do rather than prepare for Generals and Admirals visits!” Very memorable. Great leader!

Tom Morgan

I was Officer of the Deck when he appeared at the bottom of the brow. Talk about moving fast!!

BMCM shook his hand and swore he’d never wash that hand!!

Bruce Fields

I was a messenger of the watch that day when that happen

Timothy Reed

The group of the General and Admiral Miller came into the ship via the WTD starboard side down the ladder to the CIC aft starboard pway. Of course we were doing field day but the General shook everyone’s hand and took about 5 min to just talk with us. We may never see another like him I’m so glad I was fortunate enough to meet a hero that day.

Jim Green

I think it was ADM Miller with him. He was CinCLANT at the time if memory serves me. Remember that day very well…tied up outboard the USS PETERSON. They were glad to see us go!

Fred Stein