Apr 29, 2009

Merlefest Excels Again...

Travis Tritt & Jerry Douglas on Thursday Night

I never quite get used to the notion that Merlefest surprises me with its overall excellence. It's simply the biggest, most varied, best administered, Americana music festival anywhere. And this year was my 20th visit to North Wilkesboro, NC, for my annual "fix." Once more, I wasn't disappointed.

I went with Monty Love, a good friend from Huntsville, who coincidentally took me to the first Merlefest I attended, in 1990. Monty filled in this year when Mary Ann realized that she simply couldn't attend because of the demands of the Gift Shop. Monty and I left early Thursday and arrived at the motel by 4:00 PM. We got into our seats in time for the Thursday night performance of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. As soon as I saw the band I said to Monty, "That mandolin player is Jody Stecher, who taught a harmony class I was in at Elkins (The Augusta Heritage Arts Workshops) several years ago!" It was just the first of this year's pleasant surprises.

The band that followed was Dailey & Vincent, the pairing of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, who took home an unprecedented 7 awards at the 19th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards in 2008. They accomplished a feat no other artist has done, by winning Entertainer of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year in the same year, a feat all the more impressive because they had released their debut album and begun touring only nine months before that. Their other awards were for Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year (Dailey & Vincent), Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year (“By the Mark”), Male Vocalist of the Year (Jamie), and Recorded Event of the Year, for Darrin’s participation in the Everett Lilly & Everybody and Their Brother project.

Dailey & Vincent

Dailey & Vincent received six SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards at the awards show held on February 15, 2009, at the Music City Sheraton in Nashville: Vocal Group of the Year, Bluegrass Band of the Year, Song of the Year (“By the Mark”), Gospel Group of the Year/Contemporary, Bass Fiddle Performer of the Year (Darrin Vincent) and Male Vocalist of the Year/Contemporary (Jamie Dailey).

And then we got to the featured act for Thursday, Travis Tritt performing with Jerry Douglas. They were spectacular! As you can tell, the standard is set high at Merlefest. And the presentation -- venues, sound systems, etc. -- is up to that same level. It's all quite remarkable, and all to honor and remember Merle Watson, the late son of the legendary guitarist and singer, Doc Watson. The history of the festival is described very well on the Swampland.com website.

Friday morning, we got on campus early and noticed on one of the many publicly-posted schedule boards that there had been a change in the schedule and that Doc Watson and David Holt would be performing at the traditional tent in about fifteen minutes. We were there in a heartbeat and sat in about the fifth row. What a treat. Doc was at his most relaxed working with his close friend and travelling companion. At 86, he can still inspire. We soaked it all up for the next hour. We then proceeded to the main stage to hear the last half of a "Welcome Home Superjam" with The Duhks, Jim Lauderdale, and Peter Rowan. A short hike brought us to the Creekside Stage for the "Blues Showcase" hosted by Roy Book Binder, an artist I had heard in Huntsville in the early 1980's. He was joined by three other great blues musicians, Doug MacLeod, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, and Patrick Sweany.

It was hot! In a very rare spring heat wave, temperatures reached 90 degrees. Monty and I decided to take refuge in a closed venue. We proceeded to the Walker Center, a very fine auditorium that seats around 1,000 people. We got there in time to see a young and very good bluegrass band called The Circuit Riders. We weren't disappointed. And they were followed by one of my favorite groups, The Kruger Brothers. The Krugers migrated from Switzerland, where they had learned to play bluegrass music from their father's vinyl records. They moved to North Carolina in 2003. If you are ever near a Kruger Brothers venue, by all means go to their performance. Their music doesn't fit any genre that I know of. They are genuinely unique and very special.

Friday night it was the Del McCoury Band followed by the Waybacks, a young and very energetic group with a huge following.

Emmylou Harris & Friends on Saturday Night

I won't bother you with the gory details of the rest of the weekend, but believe me, it just kept getting better. We finished up on Sunday morning with a spiritually uplifting session with Doc Watson and The Nashville Bluegrass Band performing an all-gospel program. At one point, Doc paused to testify about his personal salvation and the reason for our being there. It was very moving.

On our way home, as we meandered through the mountains of western North Carolina, we managed to find "The Chestnut Man," but that's a story for another time.

Apr 22, 2009

Off to Merlefest...

The Incomparable Doc Watson,
Father of the Late Eddie Merle Watson,
in Whose Memory Merlefest is Held Each Spring

I leave in the morning for my 20th (!) trek to Merlefest. Unfortunately, Mary Ann has too much work going on right now to go with me. I have invited Monty Love to join me and he has accepted. Monty and Dinah were the ones who first told me about Merlefest, when the festival was only three years old and still quite small. This year's attendance will exceed 80,000! Here's a list of the performers who will be there:

Doc Watson, Richard Watson, Susana and Timmy Abell, The Alberti Flea Circus, Darin and Brooke Aldridge Band, Angel Band, Banknotes, Buffalo Barfield, Bearfoot, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, The Belleville Outfit, Rory Block, Blue Highway, Roy Book Binder, Laura Boosinger, Bob Bovee and Gail Heil, Broken Wire, David Bromberg, Sam Bush, Cadillac Sky, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Circuit Riders, Clack Mountain String Band, T Michael Coleman, The John Cowan Band, Dailey and Vincent, The Dixie Beeliners, Donna The Buffalo, Pat Donohue, Robert Dotson, The Duhks, The Farewell Drifters, Loretta Freeman and Lynsey, Full Throttle Bluegrass Band, Rayna and Dan Gellert, The Gibson Brothers, Josh Goforth, The Grascals, The Gravy Boys, Buddy Greene, The Greencards, Mitch Greenhill, George Hamilton IV, Emmylou Harris, Wayne Henderson, Violet Hensley, Willette Hinton, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, David Holt, Clint Howard, Sierra Hull and Highway 111, The InterACTive Theater of Jef , Phil Jamison, The Kruger Brothers, Jim Lauderdale, Jack Lawrence, Mark Lippard, Jeff Little, The Little Rascals, The Local Boys, The Lovell Sisters, Doug MacLeod, Andy May, Del McCoury Band, Tift Merritt, Mountain Heart, Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Neighbors, New North Carolina Ramblers, Ollabelle, Out on the Ocean, Polecat Creek, Missy Raines and the New Hip, Tony Rice, Linda Ronstadt featuring Los Camperos de Nati Cano, The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Patrick Sauber, Martha Scanlan, Scythian, Anne and Pete Sibley, George Shuffler, Smokey Valley Band, Joe Smothers, Spring Creek Bluegrass Band, The Steeldrivers, Rodney Sutton, Patrick Sweany, Tut Taylor, Joe Thompson, Tom, Brad & Alice, Happy Traum, Mac and Jenny Traynham, Travis Tritt and Jerry Douglas, The Waybacks, WCC Child Development Singers, Pete and Joan Wernick, Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society, Tony Williamson, The Zephyr Lightning Bolts

Tell me that's not a logistical nightmare!! We'll have a full report upon our return.

Apr 21, 2009

New Life...

Spring has indeed sprung. The yard has been gradually turning green. The trees we planted last year have all survived the winter and are growing like crazy as their leaves emerge.

Alongside my shop, the azaleas have bloomed. Our remaining dogwoods have been putting on one of their best displays ever. And the rhododendrons that we planted in Margo's memory are blooming for the first time! I love Spring!

Apr 17, 2009

Playing for Change...

A couple of days ago I received an email from my friend Garry Howell. It was titled "Amazing Music." The only thing in the email was a link to a Website. After I was blown away by the music, I noticed the reference at the end of the video to http://www.musicforchange.com/. Naturally I had to find out what this was all about. It's really fascinating.

Last October, Bill Moyers, on his show, "Bill Moyers' Journal," sat down with Mark Johnson, the producer of a remarkable documentary about the simple but transformative power of music: PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC. The film brings together musicians from around the world — blues singers in a waterlogged New Orleans, chamber groups in Moscow, a South African choir — to collaborate on songs familiar and new, in the effort to foster a new, greater understanding of our commonality.

As Moyers describes it, "Johnson traveled around the globe and recorded tracks for such classics as "Stand By Me" and Bob Marley's "One World" — creating a new mix in which essentially the performers are all performing together — worlds apart. Often recording with just battery-powered equipment, Johnson found musicians on street corners or in small clubs and they would in turn gather their friends and colleagues — in all, they recorded over 100 musicians from Tibet to Zimbabwe. The unique composition of the film which has musicians playing together yet in their own traditions, made Johnson think anew about what world music means: Just thinking in my mind... what would be unique instruments to juxtapose against each other that had never been heard before: a talking drum and a tabla, they're very similar but they never really come together, or a sitar and a dobro, very similar but how often do you hear them play together? The idea was to go to places that would have some sort of instruments that they could add to the spectrum of the global music that we were trying to find.The Playing For Change Foundation provides resources (facilities, supplies, educational programs, etc) to musicians and communities around the world. The foundation is working with South African poet Lesego Rampolokenga to build the Mehlo Arts Center in Johannesburg, South Africa and building and supporting the Ntonga Music School in the South African township of Guguletu. In addition, Playing For Change is working to enhance and rebuild Tibetan refugee centers in Dharamasala, India and Kathmandu, Nepal. You can find news about their benefit concerts and programs, and listen to additional songs, on their Web site: Playingforchange.com."

On the video that I first saw, Ben E King’s oldie, "Stand by Me," the following musicians took part:
Roger Ridley – Santa Monica, California
Grandpa Elliot – New Orleans, Louisiana
Washboard Chaz – Louisiana
Clarence Bekker – Amherst, Netherlands
Twin Eagle Drum Group – Zuni, New Mexico
Francois Viguie – Toulouse, France
Cesar Pope -Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Dimitri Dolganor – Moscow, Russia
Roberto Luti – New Orleans, Louisiana
Geraldo & Diorision – Caracus, Venezuela
Junior Kissangiva Mbouta – The Congo
Pokei Klaas -Guguletu, South Africa
Django Degen – Barcelona, Spain
Sinamura Umlazi – South Africa
Stefano Tomaselli – Pisa, Italy
Vusi Mahlasel -Mamelodi, South Africa
I've ordered the video and can't wait for it to arrive. In the meantime, I'm enjoying a number of the collaborative samples of music that have been posted on YouTube. Just do a YouTube search on "playingforchange." Enjoy. And Peace. And Love.

Apr 12, 2009

On the Move...

For the last 10 years, a 1932 Plymouth roadster has been residing in the rearmost part of my shop. This weekend, we started "liberating" it, getting ready to take it to the shop where it will be transformed into a hemi-powered traditional hot rod.
Monty Love came up Saturday and helped me uncover the car. Then, much to our collective amazement, we were able to inflate the tires! It is now standing a little taller and has started its migration toward the front of the garage.

A Blessed Easter...

On this most holy day, the feast of the Risen Christ, we wish all our friends the blessings of joy, hope, peace, and good health.

Apr 9, 2009

Peanuts & Cracker Jacks...

Step aside, George Steinbrenner. A few days ago we found out that Ebabe's Gifts had been successful in its bid to sponsor a local softball team. The "Ebabes" team is a great group of first grade girls. Tonight we went to see them play, and they won 9-3. It was great fun.

At the end of the game, Stacy, their coach (and daughter of Bob's barber) called them into a huddle and gave a countdown. They burst forth in unison with a loud "Ebabes!" Maybe next time I can get a video of them.

Apr 8, 2009

Congratulations, Madam Principal ! ! !

According to a reliable source:
Don Splinter, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals, Melton Callahan, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals, and Jimmy Stokes, Past President of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, along with a host of friends, family, and coworkers surprised Dr. Sheila Kahrs at the monthly faculty meeting to announce her selection as the Georgia Middle School Principal of the Year for 2009. Dr. Kahrs will represent the State of Georgia in the selection process for National Middle School Principal of the Year. In October, she will join the other POY from around the country in Washington for a three day conference and celebration hosted by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Met Life.

Sheila, you make us proud. Congratulations on much-deserved recognition...

Small World...

Yesterday, while looking for some material related to my high school, Mont Pleasant H.S., in Schenectady, New York, I found this picture on the Internet. The young lady in the picture, Gwen Pugh, was in my class. I sent it to my friend Roland Racko, another member of the class of '58. He was even more amazed. It turns out that Roland took the picture! He had established a small business taking prom and wedding pictures. The young man in the picture is Jim Staley, who was a member of the class ahead of ours. Jim had posted this picture in one of his Picasa.com albums.

Apr 7, 2009

Reflections on 2 Men (Part 2)

I arrived in Norman, Oklahoma, in the summer of 1965, excited about getting started on my engineering degree and making the navy my career. Two years later, I had resigned my commission and was going back to school full-time to pursue my engineering degree without the navy's involvement. As I pointed out in my last post, my commanding officer was the reason for my decision to leave the navy. I think I made it obvious how I felt about the man.

Captain Lowe had not helped the navy's position on campus. He was a politically astute man, but seemed to focus his "schmoozing" on people outside of the academic community. He also had at times disregarded university policy to the navy's detriment. On one occasion in 1967, he conducted surveillance on a Midshipman suspected of a drug offense, using Naval Investigative Service personnel and equipment, without advising university officials. The administration of OU found out about this and was outraged. There was a collective sigh of relief when it was announced that a replacement had been named as the new Professor of Naval Science.

The new NROTC commanding officer was to be Captain William Loren McGonagle, USN. The new Captain had superb credentials -- a veteran of service during both World War II and Korea, his most telling accomplishment was that he had earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. The word of this spread throughout the campus community and the NROTC rapidly regained its stature on campus.

I spent a lot of time in the naval armory while I was going to school. I got to know Captain McGonagle professionally and socially. We talked about a possible future for me back in the navy, but that was not to work out. I do know that this wonderful and inspiring comrade renewed my faith in the ability of our armed services to attract and promote truly exceptional individuals.

Captain McGonagle made it very clear that he didn't believe it was an accident that his former command, the USS Liberty, was attacked by the Israeli armed forces. He had a carefully-prepared slide presentation that he was always ready to deliver to any service organization that invited him. It was an arresting presentation, with detailed photographs of the aftermath of the attack on the Liberty. He was an imposing figure, standing well over six feet tall and with an athlete's physique. In his dress whites, with the Medal of Honor in evidence, he made a wonderful spokesman for the service and the NROTC.

I stayed in touch with Captain McGonagle for a few years, and then stayed aware of his activities with the USS Liberty alumni organization. I heard with real sadness of his death in 1999.

Permit me to quote part of Captain McGonagle's obituary by Jon Thurber in the Los Angeles Times:
"When Navy Capt. William L. McGonagle received his Medal of Honor, it was not bestowed on him by the president, as is customary, or even presented at the White House. McGonagle, who died last week at 73, was given his award in the relative seclusion of a shipyard near Washington by the Navy secretary. For all of McGonagle's heroism, he was still part of an incident that the U.S. and Israeli governments would rather forget. He was the captain of the Liberty. A lightly armed World War II-era freighter converted to a technical resource ship, the Liberty was on duty in the eastern Mediterranean on June 8, 1967, Day 4 of what would soon be known as the Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors, when it was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats. Although staffed by U.S. Navy personnel, the Liberty was actually an intelligence-gathering ship, a listening post for the National Security Agency, the U.S. intelligence branch responsible for communications intercepts and code-breaking. Below decks, 100 crew members were using sensitive radio equipment to monitor traffic in the region. As the afternoon of June 8 approached, off-duty members of the Liberty crew spent their time on deck sunbathing and waving to Israeli planes as they passed overhead. Crew members recalled that some of the pilots even waved back. But just before 2 p.m., two Israeli Mirage fighters came back, and this time the pilots opened fire on the Liberty, spraying the vessel with rockets, machine gun fire and napalm. Israeli gunboats soon arrived and took over the attack, launching torpedoes, one of which ripped a 40-foot hole in the hull. Of the 294-man crew, 34 were killed and 171 wounded. McGonagle was on the bridge when the attack started. He was severely burned when one of the planes dropped napalm on the bridge, and his legs were so badly torn by shrapnel that a makeshift tourniquet could not staunch the flow. "If I left . . . with those wounds, I'd never have been able to get back to the bridge," he told a reporter later. The Liberty sent SOS signals to the 6th Fleet. The carrier Saratoga finally responded, acknowledging receipt of the call for help. Twelve fighter planes were dispatched to the Liberty's rescue, but those planes were quickly recalled on orders from Washington. Then suddenly the attack was over. The Israeli gunboats offered help to the ship they had just tried to sink. The American response was, at a minimum, rude. Through it all, McGonagle continued to oversee the firefighting and flood control efforts on the stricken ship. He said that his crew inspired him to stay. "I would lay down on the deck, and put my leg on the captain's chair to stem the loss of blood," he said. He stayed at his post through the night, often stretching flat on the deck and navigating by the North Star. It took 17 hours for U.S. help to arrive. By midafternoon of the day of the attack, Israeli officials had informed Washington of the incident. In the ensuing furor, Israeli officials expanded their explanation, saying that the fighter pilots thought the Liberty was an Egyptian freighter. President Johnson accepted the explanation and an apology, but several high-ranking members of his administration and the military were not satisfied with the Israeli story. "My position is that the Israeli military is highly professional and to suggest that they couldn't identify the ship is . . . ridiculous," Adm. Thomas Moorer, who was chief of naval operations at the time McGonagle received his Medal of Honor, told the Washington Post. Other than a brief public statement after the incident, McGonagle refused to discuss the matter. He was, in the words of one of his crew members, "a good Navy captain." But in 1997, on the 30th anniversary of the attack, McGonagle spoke up. In a speech at a reunion of Liberty crew members and their families at Arlington National Cemetery, he called for a full accounting from Israel and the United States. "I think it's about time that the state of Israel and the United States government provide the crew members of the Liberty and the rest of the American people the facts of what happened, and why . . . the Liberty was attacked," McGonagle said, his voice cracking with emotion. "For many years I have wanted to believe that the attack on the Liberty was pure error," the captain said. But, he said, "it appears to me that it . . . was not a pure case of mistaken identity. It was, on the other hand, gross incompetence and aggravated dereliction of duty on the part of many officers and men of the state of Israel." There was no official response to his remarks. Another member of the crew, James Ennes, now a retired Navy lieutenant commander, found a separate explanation for the attack. In his 1980 book, "Assault on the Liberty," Ennes concluded that the Israeli attack was an attempt to prevent the Americans from learning of a planned Israeli invasion of the Golan Heights. The invasion came a day after the attack on the Liberty amid indications that Israel had earlier postponed the action. Ennes said the ship's mission was not to spy on the Israelis, but rather to intercept communications confirming Soviet pilots were flying Egypt's air force fleet of Soviet-built Tu-95 bombers. A U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry determined that the Liberty was "in international waters, properly marked as to her identity and nationality, and in calm, clear weather when she suffered an unprovoked attack." McGonagle, a Kansas native who received a degree from USC and served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War, recovered from his severe wounds before receiving his Medal of Honor. "

R.I.P., my Captain.

Apr 3, 2009

Reflections on 2 Men (Part 1)

In 1965 the Navy sent me to teach at the NROTC unit at the University of Oklahoma. I arrived there at the end of August. One of my first surprises was to be advised that the commanding officer, a naval aviator, Captain Marcus L. Lowe, Jr., did not permit his officers to take any college classes while at this duty station (Among the staff, it was generally believed that the reason for the Captain's policy was that he had done poorly in a class after his arrival at Oklahoma and did not want to be outshone by his subordinates.). This came as a great disappointment, since I had stated in my request for this duty that I intended to begin taking the courses needed for an engineering degree. I wanted to become what was known as an Engineering Duty Officer (EDO), a special class of officers who only serve in engineering assignments.

Within a week of my arrival, the captain returned from his summer duty assignment in Corpus Christi, Texas. I approached him shortly thereafter to see if he could make an exception in my case and permit me to take courses at the university. I explained that as a bachelor I could pursue classes at night school, that they wouldn't interfere with my teaching assignments, and that he would never be aware of any adverse effect on my performance.

His response was totally unexpected and, in my opinion, unprofessional -- "Mr. Mead, if you've got so God damned much time on your hands, then I'll strangle you with collateral duties." And he proceeded to do so. I was soon notified that I would be the Coach of the Midshipman Rifle and Pistol Team, the Drum and Bugle Corps, the Drill Team, publisher of a Midshipman newsletter, in charge of the Trident Society (a Midshipmen social group aimed at professional development), the coordinator of a yearbook for the unit, and sponsor of the annual Navy Ball. Captain Lowe was clearly both stubborn and a man of his word. The effect on me was simple. I decided to resign my commission and leave the navy as soon as my obligated service was over.

More than a year had passed when one of the strangest incidents of my naval career occurred. I was approached by Captain Lowe and asked if we had a speaker planned yet for the March 1967 meeting of the Trident Society. I informed him that we did not yet have a speaker committed and he then informed me that he would be the featured speaker, and further, that his topic would be "Marcus L. Lowe, Jr., the Story of a Naval Career." We held the March meeting with average attendance, about 60% of the battalion. The Captain spoke proudly of his career from flight school through World War II duty in a PBY squadron, through various staff and flying assignments, to his arrival at OU several years before. I thought it was a fairly successful event.
The next morning Captain Lowe called me and the rest of his staff, with the exception of the Executive Officer, into his office. He closed the door. We were standing in a row in front of his desk wondering what the nature of the meeting might be. He looked away from us, looking out toward the campus (He sometimes had a problem looking people in the eye.) and spoke, "I guess you all know why you're here." We didn't have a clue. He continued, "Last night was one of the greatest displays of disloyalty I have ever witnessed since I joined the Navy!" We still didn't have a clue. He explained that he had expected every midshipman in the battalion to be present for his speech and was mortified that there was not 100% attendance.

We were at a loss. Lieutenant Colonel Tullis J. Woodham, Jr.,, USMC, the Marine Officer Instructor, spoke up, "Captain, clearly you didn't expect my Marine candidates. They're not even members of the Trident Society." (The Marines had their own chapter of the Semper Fi organization.)

The Captain blew up, "Tullis, I don't want to hear it! They're disloyal! They should have been there!" We all tried to reason with him (still staring out the window, not facing us) to no avail. We explained that at no time had he indicated to anyone that this was a so-called "Command Performance," that some Midshipmen had exams to study for, that membership in the Trident Society was voluntary, etc., etc. It all fell on deaf ears. And then he made his pronouncement: "Every Midshipman who was not in attendance last night is required to write a 5,000 word essay on loyalty to be submitted by April 20th. And I (Captain Lowe) will review them all."

We were stunned and had no idea what the result would be. He dismissed us. We naturally got together to discuss how we would proceed. Some of the staff said they wouldn't even pass on the request because it was so absurd. I chose to go a different way.

I informed my classes the next day of the assignment. I stated it absolutely without attribution, not stating that it had come from the Captain, but the Midshipmen already knew about it. I said that I expected inputs by the due date. There was much grumbling. I did not even pretend to sympathize.

The due date arrived and the result was much as I expected -- some essays were brilliant, some were terrible, and about half of the people who had not been in attendance had ignored the assignment. I still remember the essay of one Midshipman, Buddy Munkres, who wrote that no one had the right to question his family's nor his loyalty, and traced his family's history of defending this country for more than a century. I had expected some non-respondents and that's exactly what I needed to take the next step.

I wrote an official Navy letter addressed to the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS, in Navy lingo) recommending that those Midshipmen who had not submitted an essay be dishonorably discharged from the Navy for failing to follow a lawful order. I really didn't want them disenrolled, nor did I believe that the order was lawful, but I wanted the bureau to become aware of the shenanigans of the Captain.

The Executive Officer called me into his office as soon as I submitted the letter (It had to go up the chain of command for endorsements enroute to its ultimate addressee.). "We can't submit this," he said.  I asked, "Why not, Commander. These people don't deserve to be commissioned if they can't follow a simple order." I held my ground. The letter went on up the chain, with endorsements "Not recommending approval."

A few weeks later, the Bureau of Naval Personnel initiated an investigation into the administration of our NROTC unit.  A team from BUPERS convened in Norman to determine first hand what had gone on.  More than one staff member had resigned their commission, citing as part of their reason the fact that Captain Lowe had prevented them from taking courses at the university.  One of these officers was a naval aviator with over 10 years of service, and this was at a time when aviators were needed in Viet Nam.  And the great loyalty essay fiasco also was looked into.  There were no disenrollments, nor should there have been.  But the Navy changed its policy with regard to officers assigned to NROTC duty.  After that time, if a Professor of Naval Science wanted to prevent a member of his staff from taking classes, he had to justify the reason in writing.  And not long after that, the NROTC Unit at Oklahoma got a new commanding officer. I'll discuss that in Part 2 of this series...