Around the World in 80 Ways

My Dad, Dr. John C. Webster, worked for the Naval Electronics Laboratory in San Diego for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1947. He was  involved in research and development for systems deployed on navy ships, and toward the end of career, in the 1960s and early 1970s, this included frequent cruises aboard ships to evaluate the systems under operational conditions. The navy operates in oceans around the world and these cruises inevitably included port calls in far-away and often exotic places.  Dad was usually accompanied on these cruises, and port visits, by a colleague named Fred, whose different interests and attitudes made their travels together particularly memorable to him. After returning from a trip with Fred he would write up his recollections of their latest adventure, eventually compiling these recollections into a manuscript he hoped to publish. The manuscript included a disclaimer:

If publishable I would probably have to get permission from the US and Royal Navies before the book could be printed. Nothing security-wise, only image-wise. Preliminary inquiries indicate I would not have trouble getting releases. In any case there are enough chapters that some could be omitted and the source of and reason for the travel could be camouflaged somewhat. I should add, since you too are a taxpayer, that the technical aspects of the work resulted in about thirty tech memos plus formal reports and papers in professional journals. The work while on board ships resulted in establishing operational shipboard equipment. Our time really was well spent, both on business and pleasure.

In fact no permission was deemed necessary to safeguard the security or uphold the image of either the US or the Royal navy.  Whether their time was well spent, especially image-wise, will be left to the judgement of the reader.

Dad wrote his book at a time before there were word processors and personal computers; he wrote them out longhand and one of his boys typed them up. There may have been a carbon copy of some of the chapters but there was no other form of backup and since he moved across the country in the mid-1970s most of the original manuscript can no longer be found. Only a preface with an annotated table of contents and the first three chapters have turned up so far.

Looking back at what used to be . . . mostly in San Diego and especially Pacific Beach.