Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sailor, Rest Your Oar

The Submarine Force lost a great leader, and I lost a good friend, with the passing Saturday of CDR Michael Scott Harrington. Here's the message about his untimely demise that went out Forcewide yesterday:

Commander Michael Scott Harrington died Saturday, September 13, 2008, in St. Louis after a courageous battle of cancer. Born April 1, 1963, in Norman, Okla., to W.G. and Sandra Cannon Harrington, he graduated from Lahoma High School in Lahoma, Okla. in 1981, and attended Oklahoma State University before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1983. After being selected for the Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1985, he obtained a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas, and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1988. His sea commands included USS Kentucky, the USS Salt Lake City as the Engineering Officer, and the USS Chicago as the Executive Officer. He also served at U.S. Strategic Command in Nebraska, during which he earned a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Oklahoma, and on the Pacific Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board and Chief of Naval Operation's DEEP BLUE staff. In 2006, he graduated from National War College with an Masters of Science Degree in National Security Strategy, and was then assigned to the teaching staff at Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth.
Surviving him are his wife, Brenda Bergdall of Meno, Okla., married since May 24, 1987, and daughter, Haley; his parents of Lahoma, Oklahoma; a brother, Robie of Blanchard, Okla.; a sister, Stacie Schultz of Lahoma, Okla; an uncle, Charles, Lawton, Okla.; and four nieces and two nephews.
In 2006, Scott and his family moved to Lawrence, Kan. During the past two years, he was able to see his beloved Kansas Jayhawks in action again, lovingly restore his home, and enjoy all that is Lawrence. Scott was a larger-than-life, funny and caring person who had a smile and a story for everyone he met. His energy and quest for knowledge were boundless. He will be deeply missed.
Memorial service for Commander Michael Scott Harrington, 45, Lawrence, will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 20, 2008, at Ft. Leavenworth Memorial Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary. Online condolences may be sent to Subject: Harrington.
I first met Scott when we showed up at the University of Kansas together in 1985 courtesy of the Enlisted Commissioning Program (Nuclear Option). Scott was one of those larger-than-life individuals who gave you his undivided attention when you were with him, yet found time to accomplish things most of us can only dream about. We drove down to Oklahoma for Scott and Brenda's wedding in 1987; he told me that he knew he'd found his one true love, and I could see in his eyes that he was telling the truth. After we graduated, he ended up one class ahead of me in OCS and Power School; even with a new group of friends, he always found time for his old college buddies.

The Submarine Force has a way of separating friends to different homeports, then bringing them together at unexpected times. Scott and Brenda's daughter was in the same Obstetrics Ward as my oldest son, having both been born in New London only a day apart. When I was on the Carrier Group SEVEN staff aboard USS John C. Stennis in 2000, Scott came aboard as a member of the NPEB at the end of the deployment -- even though he was busy, he found the time to look me up and share some old memories.

Scott was the kind of leader all of us wish we were. He was sent to fix the Engineering Department of USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) after their infamous watchstanding problems, and was XO of USS Chicago (SSN 721) out at the tip of the spear during the first days of the Global War on Terror. More than a leader, though, he was a good friend, a loving husband, and devoted father.

After I retired, we got in contact again through this blog, and wrote back and forth occasionally. He told me about his illness, but never complained -- he seemed accepting of the cards life had dealt him, and didn't try to blame anyone for the unfairness of it all. I can only hope I can have a fraction of his courage and dignity when my time comes.

I'll miss you, Scott...

Update 1830 25 Sep: Here's coverage of the Memorial Service that was held for CDR Harrington at Ft. Leavenworth last week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Bubblehead. You hit the nail on the head.

When I think of Scott I see this larger than life renaissance man. He's the guy we all want to be.

A lot of tears have been shed over the past few days. He is sorely missed.

9/16/2008 12:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir, it is with great sadness to read about this individual losing his battle to cancer. I too mourn even though I do not know him. I lost a parent several years ago to cancer, and it is never easy to say goodbye. Your blogs are very intriguing and quite informative. Best regards from a faithful reader at Pearl.

9/16/2008 12:26 PM

Blogger Julie Fanselow said...

A sweet remembrance. He sounds like a great guy with a lovely family and a (too-short) lifetime of leadership. I am sorry for your loss and for that of the whole Naval community.

9/16/2008 1:20 PM

Blogger NCdt(IV) Genest said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Bubbleheads. Commander Harrington certainly sounds like he was one of those officers us youngins look up to.

9/16/2008 2:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

9/16/2008 4:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best friends could ask for no better. Well done! -Vig

9/16/2008 7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott and I were on the NPEB together and neighbors in Hawaii. I learned a ton from him while having some great times together. He brought a lot of common sense to a tough but necessary job. He will be missed. May God watch over Brenda and Haley. They are certainly in my prayers.

9/16/2008 10:23 PM

Anonymous Mark Donnithorne said...

I was fortunate to be one of CDR Scott Harrington's students this past year at the US Army Command & General Staff College. He was a key figure in making it one of the most rewarding years of my military career. He was incredibly full of life and his energy was infectious; CDR Harrington truly was an integral part of my CGSC experience. He will live on in my memories, those of my classmates, and the memories of everyone whose life he touched.

Mark Donnithorne
Major, US Air Force

9/16/2008 11:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post hit it all squarely on the head.

I've only had the honor of knowing Scott for the past 9 months, but he was truly larger than life.

From the first moment he walked in our classroom and talked to us about CGSC, I thought to myself, "This is not your typical submariner. This guy is out of control and completely awesome!" He was that enthusiastic about what he was teaching.

And his enthusiasm was infectious.

I'm sad he's gone, as his insights and talks were the best. He was on my thesis committee. He was my advisor. And I like to think that if we'd had him around a bit longer, he'd have been my friend.

Count yourself lucky, Joel. For you were truly blessed to have known this great man.

I'll be at the memorial on Saturday. Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to pass on.

9/17/2008 5:23 PM

Blogger Dave said...

CDR Harrington was the greatest XO a nuke could ever ask for. For me, he redefined what I thought a Submarine officer should be. I thought about him often after my time on the Windy City, I even kept his card in my wallet for the last 5 years, knowing I could call him if I ever needed anything. He will be missed.


9/18/2008 9:20 AM

Blogger Vince said...

I had the pleasure of serving with Scott aboard Chicago while Nav/Ops. He was a true hero in the submarine community, comprising the best in leadership, professionalism, excellence and work/family balance. He will be sorely missed.

9/21/2008 4:56 PM

Blogger subbob said...

I worked with Scott the last 2+ years. He truly was a fantastic individual and dynamic instructor.

On Friday we held a Memorial Ceremony and the funeral was on Saturday. The testimonies of close friends and co-workers were amazing. Although none of them had coordinated their notes, they all had a common vision of Scott's great personality, his love for his family and his sense of humor.

After the funeral, as several of the speakers noted, we ended as Scott would have wished - with a celebration of his life with good beer & food at our Joint Pub!

9/22/2008 10:39 AM

Blogger subbob said...

The local post paper, The Fort Leavenworth Lamp, has an online article covering Scott's memorial service, including pictures. Our Commanding General, LTG Caldwell, presented CDR Harrington's posthumous Legion of Merit to Scott's father-in-law.

You can view it at the link below.

Friends remember fallen Navy officer

9/25/2008 5:33 PM

Blogger John said...

I knew Scott, Brenda and Haley when they lived in Virginia.
I really liked Scott a lot. He was a good cook, had a great sense of humor and took his responsibilities as husband and father very seriously.

As a guy, I don’t weep much, but when his daughter called and gave me the news, well..
His faith was strong and I know he is healed now in the presence of his Heavenly father.

10/11/2008 2:09 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I just read this. Never heard the news before. I knew he was sick, but...I knew him after his Engineer tour on SLC. Scott was a great officer. Besides that he introduced me to cigars and Guinness.

The world is a bit darker with his passing.

3/04/2009 7:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about Scott this morning and came here to read about him.

I will smoke a cigar tonight in his honor.

4/18/2009 9:09 AM

Anonymous Jeremy said...

Today is a sad day. I knew Scott had been sick, but had no idea. He has been in my thoughts since meeting him on USS Cheyenne during an ORSE, and serving with him on the USS Chicago. As the XO, he was officially one of the greatest men I ever came to know, and the best a nuk could ask for. An infectious attitude and forthright ability to motivate you to do what needed to be done at the right time, for the right reasons, and in a manner that you would motivate yourself to do it next time... and all by looking you in the eye and patting you on the back. An amazing man that touched everyone by relating to them in one way or another, he had a way of communicating that is unmatched by many. I learned a lot from Scott, as did everyone he managed to rub off on over the years, I'm sure. His legacy will live on for years through all of us and our decisions based on that which he taught. A mentor like no other. Mahalo Nui Loa my friend, you can rest easy knowing the seas will be safe... A sacred piece of vinyl ,your gift to me, behind the calm tones of a digereedoo will always carry the thoughts of your honor my friend...

5/18/2009 11:00 AM

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11/01/2011 2:35 AM


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