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Hyman Rickover
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Military Personnel
    (January 27, 1900-July 8, 1986)
    Born in Makow Mazowiecki, Poland
    Four star admiral
    Headed the program to build the first nuclear submarine, the Nautilus
    Known as 'the Father of the Nuclear Navy'
    Longest serving Naval officer in US history (1918-82)
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980)
    His interviews with prospective officers sometimes devolved into verbal abuse, harassment and banishment to a broom closet.
    A Naval board concluded that he had accepted $67,000 in gifts from General Dynamics (1983).
    He was accused of establishing a cult of personality that isolated officers in the nuclear navy from the rest of the service.
    He used his influence in Congress to stay at his post two decades past the retirement date.
    Secretary of the Navy John Lehman said, '[O]ne of my first orders of business would be to solve...the Rickover problem.... His viselike grip on much of the navy was doing it much harm.'
    His emphasis on standards and personal integrity were largely credited with the Navy's record of zero nuclear reactor accidents.
    He said of his safety policy, 'I have a son. I love my son. I want everything that I do to be so safe that I would be happy to have my son operating it. That's my fundamental rule.'
    Richard Nixon said on awarding the admiral his fourth star, 'The greatness of the American military service, and particularly the greatness of the Navy, is symbolized in this ceremony today, because this man, who is controversial, this man, who comes up with unorthodox ideas, did not become submerged by the bureaucracy, because once genius is submerged by bureaucracy, a nation is doomed to mediocrity.'
    He donated $100,000 of his own money to educational projects and raised $200,000 to establish the Rickover Science Institute, 'one of the most prestigious and competitive high-school science programs in the nation.'
    Jimmy Carter said of his forced retirement, 'The defense contractors were out to get Rickover for a long time. He embarrassed them and he was a one-man watchdog.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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