(By Captain Jim Osborn, CEC, USN, Ret.)
In the late 1950's and early 60's, Navy research in deep ocean activity was given a priority, primarily because of the recognition of the importance of submarines in performing the Navy mission of strategic defense.
Commander Osborn relieved Captain Donovan in 1977 after having two training deployments on the OCP SEACON, one off Fort Lauderdale where coaxial cables were being retrieved and laid and another off San Croix where a cable landing was conducted.
During the time when Captain Osborn was head of the Ocean Facilities Program, the Ocean Construction Equipment Inventory was substantially increased in size and capability.
New tasks were assigned in assisting the Undersea Surveillance Program cable landing and protection programs.
Research became more focused on problems of cables and their protection as well as on new diver tools to be used by the Underwater
There was a time of levity though that bears remembrance.
On a visit by Captain Osborn to Underwater Construction Team 2 in Port Hueneme, CA, a party was held at the home of one of the officers.
After having had a good time, Captain Osborn went to his car to leave, feeling great because all the people at the party came out to see him leave.
When the keys were turned in the ignition, there was a loud "bang" and smoke came pouring from under the car!
After a momentary shock, Captain Osborn concluded that an "explosive device" had been wired to the car by none other than Warrant Officer Dave Handley, at the instigation of the Officer in Charge, LCDR Pete Marshall.
Trying to save "face", Captain Osborn vowed he would get even, and drove off, waving good-bye to the people who were laughing so hard they couldn't stand up!
Captain Wells relieved Captain Osborn in NAVFACENGCOM in 1981.