b'C H A P T E R 10C O R E S A N D C O M P ET E N C I E Sremoteness and engineering safeguards. Admiral James D. Watkins, Chief ofRickover, by instituting management Naval Operations, came to the NRF tosystems for quality, was considerably speak at an officer graduation ceremo -ahead of the rest of American industry. 20 ny [or for a visit.] On his way to theNRF, a guard stopped him for speedingRickover preferred to visit the NRF [or for not having a security badge].with little or no advance notice, partly Do you know who I am? Watkinsto avoid wasteful ceremony and partly asked the guard. The guard said, Noto observe conditions as they were, sir, but youre not short and you dontunvarnished and unpolished. However, have white hair, so youre not Admiralthis didnt mean that his hosts preferred Rickover.to be surprised. People did what theycould to predict his trips to the NRTS What would you say if I told you Iso they could be as well-prepared as were Rickovers boss? said Watkins.possible. 21 Then Id know you were lying, sir.Rickover aint got no boss.22Whether he was expected or not,Rickover visits left memorable impres- The stories celebrate a man who by thesions on the people who met him. sheer force of his brilliance, wit, andStories about the man were passed on dedication created an institution asto a new generation of NRF workers complex and world-changing as thewho had not known him. Secretaries Nuclear Navy. An abiding respect con-from steno pools recalled standing by tinues for Rickovers simple belief thatto take dictation while he waited for there was no room for error aboardairplanes. He liked to collect silver dol- nuclear-powered submarines.lars, commonly in circulation in the1950s, so office cashiers checked theirsupplies and polished them up.Outdoors, groundskeepers gathered upcigarette butts and repainted firehydrants if they didnt look brightenough. One story (among many oth-ers) is retold with many variations in it:9 3'