In 1945 I was a member of the Marine guard company assigned to the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. where the triggering devices for the Atom bomb were manufactured and the residence of the Chief of Naval Operation who at that time was the naval hero of the Pacific war Adm. Chester W. Nimitz.was located.
The civilian in charge of the Naval Observatory was a man named Gingrich and I’ve often wondered if he could have been Newt Gingrich’s father since the name is an uncommon one seldom encountered..
I was stationed there for some months until I managed by accident to put a .45 slug in my left thigh while on duty. That kind of thing can get you in a lot of trouble in the Corps, but I got away Scot free thanks to a phone call seeking information about my condition and expressing his concern about my welfare from Adm. Nimitz himself.
Since the brass at Marine Corps headquarters were unaware that I had been one of the Marines guarding the Admiral’s residence – they only knew I was a member of the contingent assigned to protect the Observatory – it was mistakenly taken for granted that I had some personal connection to the Chief of Naval Operations. That meant that the initials P I would be stamped on the cover of my record book (it meant “political influence”) a warning to tread carefully when dealing with me.
Anyway, the episode took place at the Observatory where a Mr. Gingrich was the boss man. Thanks to my rendezvous with the business end of a Colt .45 caliber automatic and my acquaintenship with Adm. Nimitz I remember a lot about that assignment, including the name of the head civilian at the Observatory.
My years on Capitol Hill in the ’60s and 70s ended before Newt Gingrich attained prominence. I never encountered him but I have followed his career closely. I like the cut of his jib – He’s extravagantly brilliant, and like Winston Churchill brimming over with ideas and concepts, and always sure of himself. As Churchill’s time came with the advent of WWII, Newt’s time has come with the advent of the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, the worst in American history.
At major Catholic feasts such as Christmas and Easter I always watch televised Masses at Washington’s National Catholic Cathedral. For several years as the camera panned the front pews I was intrigued to see that Newt Gingrich, a non-Catholic, was always among the worshippers. I didn’t know that he was there because his wife is a member of the choir. He seemed to be more of an active worshipper than a bystander. He wasn’t just there. He was actively participating.
Now I know why he was there and I recognize that I was privileged to be able to observe his personal journey on the road to Damascus. I have no doubt that his conversion was sincere and that he will observe his obligation to strive to avoid the sins of his past. When he took his step into the Church, he bound himself to reform his ways.
I’m convinced he will. We need Newt Gingrich, No one else fits the bill in these awful times.
I have a rock on my desk that has a legend on it. It says “Cast only if without sin.” I’d like to send such rocks – I have a lot of them – to Newt’s critics. It’s a message they need to see.
Faugh ‘a Ballagh.
Phil Brennan is an editor and publisher and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. A WWII U.S. Marine he served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org