The council members gathered at the capitol with
leadership and midshipmen of the University of Texas
Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (UT NROTC) unit
to present a set of authentic, 7-foot-spread Texas longhorns to Hertel and Texas, a Virginia-class submarine.
Skype was working well and Hertel, whose feed was
projected from a laptop computer onto a large screen
so everyone in the gathering could see, and the Austin
group conversed easily, according to R. Glenn Looney,
the council’s vice president for communication.
Hertel commemorated the day by reading a solemn
passage from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s
“Pearl Harbor” speech, which was given a day after the
attack before a joint session of Congress. It was during
the speech, in which Roosevelt famously described
Dec. 7, 1941, as “a date which will live in infamy,” that
he asked Congress to declare war on Japan. Congress
passed a formal declaration of war later that day.
Following his remarks, Council President Kathy
Pillmore, with the assistance of four midshipmen from
UT NROTC, then made the formal presentation of the
longhorns to Hertel on behalf of Texas. National
Director Jeanie Coffey, National Director Mary Virginia
Pittman-Waller, Central Texas Area President Max
Miller, Greater Austin Council Vice President Bruce
Byron and Looney also were in attendance.
Hertel seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the council’s gesture and certainly by the spread of the longhorns, Looney said.
Capt. John Eden, professor of Naval Science and
commanding officer of UT NROTC; Lt. Chris Hoover,
assistant professor of Naval Science, UT NROTC; and
a select detail of submarine option midshipmen physically accepted the longhorns at the capitol and committed to ensuring their safe passage to Pearl Harbor.
Although Texas has been formally adopted by the
Greater Houston Council, the Greater Austin Council,
from its base in the capital of Texas, maintains an emotional tie to the boat, Looney said. Austin lost its namesake ship in 2004 with the decommissioning of the
amphibious transport dock ship USS Austin.
“It was a privilege to do this for the Texas,” Pillmore
said. “We respect and honor the men and women of
the Navy and especially those serving on any ship
named after our state. Texans are a proud lot.”
A month earlier, the council hosted Hertel, Chief of
the Boat Master Chief Machinists Mate Matt Harris and
Lt. j.g. Mike Von Bargen at one of its distinguished
speaker dinner programs. They were on a recruiting
trip through Texas at the time, Looney said.
Hertel is an accomplished speaker and motivated
the 80 council members and guests as he spoke of the
dedication of his ship and crew to the mission of the
U.S. Navy, Looney said.
COURTESY OF R. GLENN LOONEY
Cmdr. Andrew Hertel, commanding officer of the attack submarine USS Texas, joined members of the Greater Austin
Council at the Texas State Capitol for a Dec. 7 ceremony via
Skype from the boat at its homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
COURTESY OF R. GLENN LOONEY
Along with marking the anniversary of the attack on Pearl
Harbor, the Greater Austin Council and leaders and midshipmen of the University of Texas Naval Reserve
Officers Training Corps presented the Pearl Harbor-based USS Texas with a 7-foot set of genuine Texas longhorns. Texas displays a set of longhorns on its bridge
when entering and leaving port.
During the course of his remarks, he told of how
USS Texas displayed a set of longhorns on its bridge
when entering and leaving port. When asked if the
boat had a proper set of longhorns, he indicated it did,
and with his arms spread about 3 feet stated that they
were about “that long.”
“Those are not a proper set of longhorns,” Pillmore
replied. “A real set of Texas longhorns measure between 6
and 7 feet in length. We’ll have to see what we can do to
get you a set that more fully represents our great state!”
She was able to locate an appropriate set of Texas
longhorns and a plaque commemorating the presenta-
tion was mounted on them for the ceremony on Pearl
Harbor Day [see related story on page 56]. ■