Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Rest of The Story: More On The Naval Academy - Notre Dame Connection

Shortly after I had posted yesterday's article about the Naval Academy's recent experience at Notre Dame, my phone rang. The disembodied voice on the other end asked: "Do you know why Navy and Notre Dame play football every year?" The caller was Bill Reagan, a Notre Dame graduate and former naval aviator. Bill lives in Wellesley, a mile down the road from my office. To most of the world he is the legendary inventor of LoJack, but to me, Bill Reagan is simply one of the best friends a man could have - brilliant, witty, loyal, encouraging, challenging, and an ever-flowing fount of fascinating stories. When Bill shared with me yesterday one of those stories of the long-standing connection between Notre Dame and the Naval Academy, I asked him to share it with the rest of this Blog's readership. It is appropriate that Bill do so, since the Blog is part of the reason that Bill and I met earlier this year. Here is Bill's "rest of the story":

Dear Al,

The recent announcement that Notre Dame and the Naval academy have extended their commitment to meet in football for the next ten years was warmly received by all. The two AD's, Chet and Kevin, were effusive in their announcements, as were so many of us who have shared a camaraderie which reaches far beyond the gridiron.

I clearly recall the early days of flight training when the Domers and the Academy's new ensigns were thrown together with only one common goal to achieve: Focus on the day when the admiral pins those Navy Wings of Gold on your chest and hope you don't wash out or splash out. When we finally joined the fleet as Naval Aviators, friendships which would last for a lifetime, had been well struck.

Most of us at the time were unaware of the partnership formed (shortly after we were born) between the United States Naval Academy and the University of Notre Dame.

Since around 1860, most Notre Dame students were required to participate in military training. About 1600 students served in the first world war; those who paid the ultimate sacrificed are remembered on the east side of the Cathedral with the University's motto "God, Country, Notre Dame."

In the fall of 1941, the Navy ROTC entered the campus. At the height of the war, there were only about 300 non military students on campus. Approximately 12,000 Naval and Marine Corps Officers were commissioned at Notre Dame between 1942 and 1946. The Navy ROTC at Notre Dame is second only to the United State Naval Academy in the number of Naval and Marine Corps officers it has commissioned in the last fifteen years.

That's my quick thumbnail which you requested this morning, Al.

Perhaps symbiosis is too strong a word to attribute to the UND/USNA current relationship; but it certainly wasn't during the war; and yet..............when I watched the Irish team gather with the midshipmen for the playing of the Navy Hymn last Saturday afternoon.......... I truly wondered.

Benedictions my friend.


1 comment:

Tom Watanabe said...

Hi Al,

Great story on Bill. I just read the Business Week piece on LoJack since I've been thinking about developing a device to keep track of kids and thought there may be a connection. Final paragraph:

As for inventor Reagan, now 70, he has no financial stake in LoJack's future, but he's still tinkering with tracking devices. His new project: a gadget for backpacks to help locate kidnapped children. Says Reagan of the technology he dreamt up long ago: "It's practically limitless."

I'd love to correspond with Bill about this even if it's just to provide feedback, e.g., backpacks might not work too well since they can get lost or thrown away. Also, I was thinking you can sell not only to parents but also possibly schools, amusement parks, malls, etc. Perhaps if you have a sec, you can forward to Bill.

btw, I spent ten years working in technology in Asia-Pacific and a friend is currently running the Tokyo office of Heidrick and Struggles. So , definitely some tie-ins to some of what you write about. Will be looking forward to reading more of your posts!

Thanks and have a great New Year!

Best, Tom

Tom Watanabe
Albany, CA