Listening for Leviathan
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Listening for Leviathan is the biography of Captain Joseph Paul Kelly, USNR, the US Navy's Father of Project Caesar and SOSUS. During the Cold War, Captain Joe Kelly headed the anti-submarine project that secretly tracked Soviet submarines during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Later, SOSUS discovered the causes of the destruction of the two US nuclear submarines Thresher and Scorpion. More
An excerpt from the book:
A solitary man introduced himself to Mary Jo and Bob.
“He sometimes called me Ichi-ban. That’s Japanese for Number One. I am his oldest daughter,” said Mary Jo, by way of introducing herself to the gentleman.
“Then I can speak freely to you,” this stranger said. “I traveled with your father. Our last great trip was to Brawdy in Wales. We started a Naval Facility there. I suggest you visit that site. It is out beyond St. David’s.”
“We are going to Wales after Christmas for a Storyfest program,” said Bob. “Where is the station?”
“Wales is shaped like the head of the pig,” said the man. “Our station in Wales is located in the snout. Here is the name of the contact person.”
He handed them a slip of paper with a name and address written in block print.
Bob and Mary Joe looked in wonderment at this man.
“You are the oldest,” he said. “You should know the story. And tell it.”
Mary Joe took a deep breath, in assent.
Bob, the storyteller, was ready with a question. “What happened?” he asked.
“About what?” wondered Mary Joe.
But the man understood. “I was there when Joe Kelly was defeated. It was in Europe. Norway, maybe. Maybe, Portugal. It was the cruellest thing I ever saw. In front of many people, Joe Kelly was told, ‘You are not in charge anymore.’ Project CAESAR went from a tight team of twelve men to twelve thousand. Overnight. Your father was an engineer. He was not a politician.
“I’m surprised the blow didn’t kill him. Other men have been defeated by that sort of blow, but I understand your father retired gracefully and had a second career at Westinghouse.”
“So to speak,” said Mary Joe.
That man had one more thing to say before he disappeared into the crowd.
“Your father was the father of SOSUS. For twenty years, he was personally responsible for turning an idea into the Navy’s most important anti-submarine warfare sensor. He is one of the very few naval officers who has made an historic contribution to our nations’s undersea capability. All Americans can sleep better because he was with us. May he rest in peace.”
The man ended by saying curtly, “No need to remember all that. I’ll put it in writing.” He melted away.
Mary Joe leaned on Bob. “Who was that man?” she whispered.
“I think he said his name was Cox,” said Bob. “But I’m not sure. But I am sure that you received your commission. I think you are to learn the story of your father’s life and tell it.”
“You’re the storyteller,” she demurred.
“You are Joe Kelly’s ichi-ban daughter,” he replied. “Only you can do this work.”