Today’s Illustration: Why Not?

President Jimmy Earl Carter – “Did you do your best?”

 

On This Day:  Jimmy Earl Carter, born October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia

 

Facts & Information:

Family: “Earl (James Earl Carter, Sr.) and Lillian Carter, owned a peanut farm and warehouse and a store outside the small town of Plains, Georgia.

Raised in Plains, Georgia on a Peanut Farm

Graduated of the United States Naval Academy — Annapolis, Maryland

Class of 1947

Graduated a year early because of WWII

Summer of 1946 — Ensign Carter reported to the battleship USS Wyoming, to start his first two-years of duty, in Norfork, Viriginia.

Married to Rosalynn Smith:

“Prior to his last year at Annapolis, while on leave, Midshipman Carter met Rosalynn Smith, a friend of his sister’s. She was only seventeen-years-old, three years Jimmy’s junior. When Carter first proposed marriage, she refused him. Early the following year, however, she visited him at Annapolis, and when he proposed a second time she accepted. The two were married in July of 1946.” — miller center

Nuclear Naval Career:

“As the end of his first two years of service approached, Jimmy applied for, and was accepted into, the highly sought after submarine service. He reported to the Submarine School in New London, Connecticut, in June 1948. It was a very demanding course, 15% of his classmates failed to complete it. After six months, Jimmy and the rest graduated and received their first assignments. Carter was ordered to the USS Pomfret (SS-391), as the electronics officer. The submarine was based in Hawaii, and was just about to begin a three-month cruise to China.” — rickover effect

Nuclear Naval Expert:  Jimmy Carter worked with Hyman Rickover (father of the nuclear submarine) at the Chalk River Project to perfect the nuclear engine for the USS Nautilus — hayseed

Senator of the Georgia Senate – 1963 – 1967

Governor of Georgia 1971- 1975

39th President of the United States — 1977 – 1981

Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize — 2002

When Jimmy Carter was considering a run for the President of the United States, he decided to pay a visit to his mentor, Admiral Hyman Rickover.
The discussion had lasted over two hours.
Admiral Rickover then asked Jimmy Carter a question which stuck with him all his life and was included in the introduction of Jimmy Carter’s book, “Why Not The Best” . . . .
why not the best page 2 jimmy carter

“Finally, he asked me a question, and I thought I could redeem myself. He said, ‘How did you stand in your class at the Naval Academy?’ Since I had completed my sophomore year at Georgia Tech, before entering Annapolis as a plebe, I had done very well, and I swelled my chest with pride and answered, ‘Sir, I stood fifty-ninth in my class of 820!’ I sat back to wait for the congratulations, which never came.

Instead, the question: ‘Did you do your best?’ I started to say, ‘Yes sir,’ but I remembered who this was, and recalled several of the many times at the academy when I could have learned more about our allies, our enemies, weapons strategy, and so forth. I was just human. I finally gulped and said, ‘No, sir, I didn’t always do my best.’

“He looked at me for a long time, then turned his chair around to end the interview. He asked one final question, which I have never been able to forget — or answer. He said, ‘Why not?’

I sat there for a while, shaken, and then slowly left the room.”

— Why not the best

Key Illustrative Thoughts:

• Why not the best?
• Have I done my best for Jesus?
• First place
• priorities
• Why not?
• serving the Lord
• not with eyeservice
• doing the minimum
• Mary’s annoying of Jesus
• David’s words to Araunah
• giving
• widow’s mite
• much given much required
• He has given His best to us
• on the day of judgment
• will He ask us, “Why not?”
• Malachi — “offer it now unto thy govenor”

 



Other Information & Links:

“Hyman G. Rickover took a meticulous interest in every aspect of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear program. As a result, he personally interviewed each applicant. He placed a hard, straight-back chair in front of his large desk and grilled the interviewee with an intensity meant to shake his confidence. There was something else about that chair: the two front legs were shorter than the two back legs, enhancing all the more the discomfort of the applicant.

Lieutenant Jimmy Carter went to Washington confident of his experience and qualifications. But there was also trepidation based on Rickover’s reputation. The interview lasted two stressful hours. First, Carter was asked if he had read Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny, and when he answered yes, he was quizzed about the lessons on the navy and the nature of command that could be drawn from the novel. Rickover then offered Carter the opportunity to choose the topics that they discussed. Carter picks up the story:

“Very carefully, I chose those about which I knew most at the time — current events, seamanship, music, literature, naval tactics, electronics, gunnery — and he began to ask me a series of questions of increasing difficulty. In each instance, he soon proved that I knew relatively little about the subject I had chosen.

“He always looked right into my eyes, and he never smiled. I was saturated with cold sweat.

“Finally, he asked me a question, and I thought I could redeem myself. He said, ‘How did you stand in your class at the Naval Academy?’ Since I had completed my sophomore year at Georgia Tech, before entering Annapolis as a plebe, I had done very well, and I swelled my chest with pride and answered, ‘Sir, I stood fifty-ninth in my class of 820!’ I sat back to wait for the congratulations, which never came.

Instead, the question: ‘Did you do your best?’ I started to say, ‘Yes sir,’ but I remembered who this was, and recalled several of the many times at the academy when I could have learned more about our allies, our enemies, weapons strategy, and so forth. I was just human. I finally gulped and said, ‘No, sir, I didn’t always do my best.’

“He looked at me for a long time, then turned his chair around to end the interview. He asked one final question, which I have never been able to forget — or answer. He said, ‘Why not?’

I sat there for a while, shaken, and then slowly left the room.” — Why not the best pg2

Carter returned to New London, Connecticut, believing that he had failed the interview. He told his wife, Rosalyn, how, when he had confidently told Rickover of his interest in classical music, saying that Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde was his favorite opera, and how Rickover had overwhelmed him with questions that he could not answer. He had the feeling that with each reply he gave, which he believed to be perfectly correct, Rickover would nonetheless dispute them just for the sake of argument.

Like most applicants, Carter did not realize that this was part of Rickover’s technique to see how they could handle stress. It turned out that Carter had held up very well, or at least well enough to impress Rickover. Soon enough the letter arrived informing him of his acceptance into the nuclear program.

According to his biographer, Jimmy Carter would later apply a technique similar to Rickover’s on so-called experts, quizzing them and making them squirm in the same confused embarrassment he experienced in Rickover’s office.” — tapatalk

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“It was the early 1950s … I had only seconds [90 seconds] that I could be in the reactor myself. We all went out on the tennis court, and they had an exact duplicate of the reactor on the tennis court. We would run out there with our wrenches and we’d check off so many bolts and nuts and they’d put them back on … And finally when we went down into the reactor itself, which was extremely radioactive, then we would dash in there as quickly as we could and take off as many bolts as we could, the same bolts we had just been practicing on.

“Each time our men managed to remove a bolt or fitting from the core, the equivalent piece was removed on the mock-up,” he wrote.

Years later, he was asked if he was terrified going into the reactor. He paused, growing quiet, before answering.

“We were fairly well instructed then on what nuclear power was, but for about six months after that I had radioactivity in my urine,” Mr. Carter said. “They let us get probably a thousand times more radiation than they would now. It was in the early stages and they didn’t know.” — radioactivity head on

 

 

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/flattopshistorywarpolitics/jimmy-carter-and-the-rickover-effect-t329.html

https://millercenter.org/president/carter/life-before-the-presidency

Book: Memoirs Hayseed Physicist by Peter-Martel — pgs 33-64

https://web.archive.org/web/20110217161647/http://ottawariverkeeper.ca/news/when_jimmy_carter_faced_radioactivity_head_on

Book:  “Why Not The Best” by Jimmy Carter

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