Thomas H. Moorer
Thomas Hinman Moorer (February 9, 1912 – February 5, 2004) was an admiral and naval aviator in the United States Navy who served as the chief of naval operations from 1967 to 1970, and as the seventh chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974.
- You've got to be willing to take orders. You've got to be willing to live in harsh circumstances. As someone has put it, you've got to be able to miss a meal if it's necessary. And you've got to have a wife that will put up with all these things. My wife has been wonderful. We moved twenty-six times, lived all over the world. When I was away, she was responsible for everything -- for buying houses, for paying the children's tuition, taking them to the hospital, etc., etc. Today, so many of the very young people are getting married, and we have also so many girls in the military. Someone over in the Pentagon told me the other day [when] I asked him what are the main problems now, he says: "Child care and pregnancy." But that wasn't present when I was a young officer.
- Of course, survival is very important, and how the people around you behave and how you can help them, and so on. I made up my mind that I was not going to be worried in the least in the future by any ordinary things.
- If you want to really get worried, just leap out in the middle of the ocean and let somebody drop a few bombs around you and you can really get worried. It's a matter of relativity. So many people in the country today and the world today, frankly, have nervous breakdowns over what I consider to be nothing.
- Now, the budgeteers always want to divide your force up into what they call a high-low mix. In other words, you build two kinds of weapons systems, one is highly capable, with advanced technology, and then you build another more or less ordinary group. Of course, in my view that's a stupid idea because you'll never get the Soviet to arrange things so that they send their medium-quality forces against your medium-quality forces, and their high-quality forces against your high-quality forces. What'll happen is, first thing you know, your low-quality forces will encounter the high-quality forces and that'll be the end of it.
- President Johnson was almost entirely focused on his efforts to introduce what was called the Great Society. He was unfortunate to be involved in the Vietnam War during the time when the public and media were getting more and more disenchanted over it, and he, in my view, looked at the war where he didn't want to put out enough effort to win it, but at the same time he wanted to put out enough not to lose it, which is not exactly the way to go about any kind of a combat. My view is that if you make the decision to get involved, you should get it over with as soon as possible. I could go into great length about this particular point.
- I have predicted for years that Germany was going to reunify. The Germans are going to be the most powerful nation in Europe, both militarily and economically as time goes on. I'm confident of that. I told some of my French friends one time that they could rest easier if they could get the Germans to sleep one hour later. What I'm really talking about there is the work ethic that they have, which has propelled them along. The same thing for the Japanese. The Japanese have everything in their favor in terms of high technology and production capability, and educated people.
- The point is [that] in the old days, when you only had a spear or maybe a one-shot rifle or something like that, you didn't have to go to school to learn how to work it. Today, we have tried in the United States to use technology to reduce manpower requirements. But what that does is impose on you the need for very intelligent people that can understand and maintain and operate these complex machines that we have today. So that's what you're up against. Every time the politicians have drawn a line and split a nation that was originally formed by a common culture and by geography and so on, it always results in a war.
- I tell young people [that] they are, in effect, the leaders in the future. Young people don't realize that they're not going to be young forever. Time marches on, and pretty soon they're going to have the mantle of responsibility. So the first thing they've got to recognize is that in order to be a leader, you must have knowledge. Education is the key to success, and it's becoming more and more so. Secondly, you've got to learn about human nature and how to deal with people. You've got to work at it; it doesn't just happen. So, in the first place, surely they know that they have an opportunity, just by virtue of living in the United States, that's not enjoyed by billions of others. Why is it that the pressure for immigration is so heavy in the United States? We don't have any boat people leaving the United States, everybody's coming this way. And why? Because of our freedom and our way of life, and the fact that the Lord has given us an area that's bordered on one hand by the Pacific Ocean, on the other side by the Atlantic Ocean. We have a marvelous climate. We only use less than 5 percent of the population to grow food. If there are no oranges in Florida, there are plenty of oranges in California. If there is no wheat in Montana, there's plenty of rice in Louisiana. In other words, the idea of having a famine never crosses our mind. So the opportunity is here, and the freedom is here, and these young people should realize how fortunate they are.
- But you've got to work. What bothers me is we've gotten to the point where the people in this country believe that any time they have a problem, the federal government in Washington will take care of it. It's got to educate them, it's got to train them, it's got to take care of their children. I think that's all nonsense. The concern I have is the breakdown of the family, which is a basic beginning of a strong nation.
- The government is not going to be able to solve everything, but the politicians, of course, use that to get votes. I'm concerned about the ethics of the country and the focus on material things by the young people. And they want it overnight. You can't just start out as being a chief executive officer at General Motors, and you won't take any job less than that. That's nonsense. You've got to be fifty, sixty, even seventy years old before you've acquired enough knowledge and experience to handle those kinds of jobs.
- So, you've got to have patience, you've go to work, and you've got to remember, as I said a while ago, that it's not the people that you work for that are going to guarantee your success, it's the people that work for you. That's where you've got to put your attention, and take care of them first.
- And I must say that throughout this entire Vietnam operation ah, I was appalled at the fact that so many people in and out of the government, and certainly I would put the media at the top of the list, seemed far more concerned about the lives of the people in Southeast Asia than they were the lives of the young men that were fighting for their country. Let me give you an example of this. For instance, when I was ah, describing the torture that was being inflicted on the POW's in ah, in North Vietnam I've actually had the American citizens tell me, "Well it serves them right – they had no business volunteering."
- One must remember that the North Vietnamese, under Ho Chi Minh, had been fighting ah, first the French, then the Japanese, then the French again, and now the Americans. And they were professionals in every sense. Ah, the South Vietnamese, on the other hand, were ah, primarily those ah, that were ah, more or less, uh, under the command of the French, and had ah, never had an opportunity to uh, develop leadership.
- Well, the only way, the only reason to go to war, at any time, uh, is to overthrow a government that's doing something you don't like. And if you announce at the outset that you are not going to overthrow the government, then, so far as I’m concerned ah, you should come home immediately.