Category Archives: Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings

Posts on the topic of the challenges and success of the deployment and integration of women into life aboard a Navy ship. This topic later became my book.

Labor Day Special: Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings

Another Base Stolen from Yesteryear, Introduction

When i went on my journey last October, i titled my travel posts “Four Bases., Home Run Replay.”

Silly title. Really silly now that i have touched another base. The reference, then and now, is a reference to baseball. It may have not been my most accomplished sport, but it was certainly the longest, even after bad golf came along. i played sandlot ball from the beginning of memory to the beginning of Little League in Lebanon, then Babe Ruth Ball, then Castle Heights (where the “Pygmy” infield contributed to the Mid-South Conference Championship, to American Legion where we went to the state (and got trounced by Memphis), then to fast pitch softball simultaneously with the Legion and county league ball, then to teams at various Navy commands, and finally in my last tour, becoming a member of the “Royals” in the San Diego Adult Baseball League when i was way over the minimum age of 33.

This is the introduction of another base. And the way, MLB keeps changing the rules to keep fans and get more and make the players and baseball television land happy, AND making more more money, money, money, it just might adopt a rule for a fifth base. After all, they have changed the game so much, it no longer looks like the real baseball i played.

But enough of that lame explanation of the titles.

This trip to promote my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings, was going to two more homes. They would be Austin and College Station, Texas.

i plan to write more in depth about this trip later, but for now, here’s a brief preview:

Yesterday, i spoke to the NROTC midshipmen in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. i was the senior Naval Officer there, 1976-1979. While there, one of my numerous assignments was as the military advisor to Company S-2. Many of the current members of S-2 attended my briefing. i showed them a couple of slides from yesteryear, and then got one from yesterday.

There are good feelings and there are bad feelings. This was one of the best.

More later:

Status: Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings

Orders for signed copies of my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings, have begun to be requested. Those who requested have received their copies. They have also sparked some super email and Facebook exchanges with those who have placed their orders.

Postal rates are going up on January 16, 2023, including “media mail,” which i use to make it financially reasonable. i will not raise any prices for the signed copies until i learn the new rates.

If you would like to order, you can go the “Books” page above, or start a new page on my website (, select Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings. If you would like a signed copy, click on the first “Buy Now” button. If not, the other “Buy Now” buttons will go to your preferred on line book seller to purchase. The price varies due to bonuses, discounts, etc.

i hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, Hanukah, and Holiday Season, and a bountiful New Year.

Four Bases: Home Run Replay: Jewells in the Northeast Corner

The book tour was over. but there was one more stop before going home. i had reached the fourth base. It is appropriate it was the “home run” of my travels.

i left Newport on a Friday morning, October 21, and drove to Boston. The wonders of talking about my book to wonderful people had me on a high. Boston was time for family.

My brother Joe and his wife, the novelist Carla Neggers, live in Quechee, Vermont. They came to Boston, a familiar trip they make to visit their daughter and son, and their daughter’s family. i stayed at their son Zach’s apartment. They stayed in ordered pandemonium at their daughter’s home with her husband, son Leo, and two young daughters Oona and Niamh.

It was a great three days. We went to soccer games, we ate at wonderful places. Oona and Niev are smart and super active. Leo has reached the teenage stage, and was relative reclusive, but he too is smart and good young man. i was really impressed as to how he and my brother operated together.

All three of the children adore their grandfather and grandmother. Spending time with the family was like watching the good life the way it should be.

Early each morning, Joe would come over to Zach’s place. He would bring pastries from one of his favorite places and the three of us would talk over the pastries and coffee. We watched sports together and just the three of us ate out Sunday evening, my last day there. It was male family and i kept thinking of Daddy, Joe, and i sharing things together.

i should add that Carla, once again, shared her knowledge about the book business with Kate and me — Kate, a history professor at Fitchburg State, has published a book about the growth of industry in the South, Dollars for Dixie, and is in the process of publishing her second book about college radio stations. Carla is a great writer, and her novels are fun reads. She is also wise in many ways, especially when it comes to publishing a book. i know i left with a better understanding of what i need to do and how.

i departed with a touch of sadness because i know how hard it is for folks in the Southwest corner and Northwest corner to get together. The two places are a long way away from each other. i vowed to get back as frequently as i could in the future.

It was almost a perfect end to a fabulous trip for me. i use “almost” because the flight home was one of the longest and uncomfortable days i’ve spent traveling, and i have had some doozy trips in my time traveling.

But the travel was worth it. Thanks, Carla, Kate, Zach, Conor, Leo, Oona, and Nieve. It was a terrific time for me,

Four Bases: Home Run Replay: Return to My Navy Home

Newport, Rhode Island was my first Navy home. The town and the Navy there were enchanting then and certainly now.

The third leg of my trip to promote my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings, was back to Newport to give a “Lecture of Opportunity” for the “Leadership and Ethics” column at the Naval War College. It was an honor to be invited.

RADM Margaret “Peg” Klein

As with my Vanderbilt presentation to promote my appearance, i had angels who had a major role in getting me there. Noreen Leahy, one of the heroines in my book, graduated in the second class with women at the Naval Academy. She continues to work in New York but spends her weekends in her home in Newport. One of Noreen’s classmates lives in Newport. Margaret “Peg” Klein is a retired Rear Admiral Naval Aviator who currently is the Dean of the Leadership and Ethics College at the Naval War College in Newport. The two met with other classmates when Noreen gave Peg a copy of my book.

Meanwhile Ed Hebert, a retired Captain Surface Warfare Officer and golfing friend read my book. When he saw me at the Sea ‘n Air Golf Course on the North Naval Air Station, North Island, he recommended that i present my book to the Surface Warfare Officer’s (SWO’s) course for newly commissioned officers, also in Newport.

Subsequently, i exchanged emails with Emily Baker Black, another heroine in the book, who independently recommended i make a presentation to the SWO school as well as the department head course, also at the SWO school.

After reading my book, Admiral Klein discussed with me the possibility of my providing a “Lecture of Opportunity” at the Naval War College.

With all of this help, the result was i went to Newport the day after my Vanderbilt presentation and held my “Lecture…” at the Naval War College. It was as, if not more rewarding as the Vanderbilt presentation. Instead of NROTC midshipmen, the preponderance of the audience were Navy officers in the Surface Warfare School’s Department Head course. The others there included a special foursome for me.

One, Andrew Nemethy, came down from Adamant, Vermont. Andrew and i were shipmates on my first ship, USS Hawkins (DD 873), who, along with Rob DeWitt, shared the stateroom in forward officers, roamed the Virginia countrysides in a Fiat Spider and BMW road bike on numerous weekends, along with sharing many adventures in Newport and then Norfolk, Virginia, 1968-69. Andrew and i have been plotting for a number of years on getting together, but one in Vermont and one in San Diego does not make for many opportunities. Andrew took advantage of my trip and made our rendezvous after 53 years.

Noreen Leahy, the old XO, Linda Schlesinger, and Emily Black at the Naval War College

To make it almost perfect, three of my heroines from Yosemite. Linda Schlesinger, who lives in Carlsbad just up the road from me in the Southwest corner, and i stayed in Noreen and Jim Leahy’s beautiful home in Middletown, intertwined with Newport. Emily Baker Black, who also lives in Newport, was our social director for my four days there. All three of these women officers were leaders then and leaders now. They also came to my lecture.

i was living my span of Navy life with an officer (Andrew) a shipmate on my first ship and three officers on my last ship.

These three, Andrew, and Admiral Klein, added to the discussion in the lecture. Approximately 25 officers who were attending the department head course at the Surface Warfare School were at the lecture. i had attended that course in 1974 when the school house was known as the Destroyer School. But folks, i was home.

Andrew joined us for dinner the first evening. Afterwards, Noreen and Emily took us all over Newport, including some wonderful dining. One was The Black Pearl, which was my hangout every time i went back. When not dining out, Noreen came up with some fantastic meals of her own leading to sea stories late into the evenings. Linda took this photo on one of those evenings. In the foreground is the work of the Yosemite’s carpenter’s shop. It is a wooden yo-yo, another nickname for Yosemite. The photo on the left is of Frank Kerrigan, our ship’s doctor (and my daughter’s godfather), in his improper service dress blues standing into Palma. the other photo is of Linda in the foreground and LT George Sitton behind her in his flight quarters gear. The book is dedicated to George who died way too soon.

My stay in Newport was one of the best four days of my life. i was taken back to days of yore in oh so many ways.

Thanks Andrew, Noreen, Emily, Linda, Peg, and Alicia Carvalho (the course coordinator for the Leadership and Ethics College at the Naval War College who took exceptional care of me.

My time at Vanderbilt and Newport boosted my spirits beyond any expectations.