From: Roger Turk <73527.1356(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 13:28:08 -0400
Charles Greenlaw wrote:
>>Of all contributors to this list, it is easy to say that Dennis Wish leads
the way in energy, dedication, and passion. It is evident that many of his
more fervently held hopes have been frustrated to some degree. Yet most of
his efforts have seeded fields of change and improvement in which growth and
ripening is underway but for which the desired harvest is still in the future.
In a coincidence, my brother recently heard a fascinating talk by retired
Rear Admiral Gene Tissot on the late Admiral Rickover, who was the promoter
and chief engineer in building the early nuclear-powered carrier Enterprise.
Gene Tissot was skipper of the Enterprise in the early 1970's, which
reportedly put him on a very short leash held by Adm Rickover. My brother
just forwarded to me a copy of Adm Rickover's paper, Thoughts on Man's
Purpose in Life, which RADM Tissot provided him.
I see a definite connection between the views of Adm Rickover regarding a
professional's duty to contribute, and the efforts of Dennis Wish with
respect to our engineering profession.
Complete success with what one seeks to make better is not the test of the
efforts nor of the one making them. Rickover quotes Sir Thomas More:
"If evil persons cannot quite be rooted out, and if you cannot correct
habitual attitudes as you wish, you must not therefore abandon the
commonwealth. You must strive to guide policy indirectly, so that you make
the best of things, and what you cannot turn to good, you can at least make
One might add, using Adm Rickover's own notoriously abrasive personal style
as an example, that the manner in which one's efforts and views are
expressed is not the test of their merits nor of the person.
Adm Rickover concluded several points with, "A common thread moves through
all the principles I have discussed: It is the desire to improve oneself and
one's surroundings by actively participating in life. Too many succumb to
the emotional preference of the comfortable solution instead of the
difficult one. It is easy to do nothing."
It is clear which of these courses Dennis has taken.
Charles O Greenlaw SE Sacramento CA
(The text of Adm Rickover's 1977 paper unfortunately is too long for the
listserver's limits as an attachment; it is in MS Word97 and runs eight
While Adm Rickover's style might have been abrasive, there was never any
doubt about what he wanted or what his goals were. Similarly, there is no
doubt in what Dennis Wish's goals are, however, it seems to me that by
leaving SEAOC and the list, that his ability of effect change is lessened.
A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
P.S. Charles, I would like to see Rickover's paper and would appreciate it
if you could send it to me privately.