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.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

CAPT Robert Nestlerode (1951-2012)

Retired Captain Robert Nestlerode, former CO of USS Birmingham (SSN 695) and Submarine Base New London (among other commands) passed away on Saturday.

Captain Nestlerode was one of the good guys; in my interactions with him, he was always professional while still having a great sense of humor; he was a mentor and a leader in the best sense of both words. Sailor, Rest Your Oar.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto on the good guy evaluation.

When he was CO of Birmingham, the crew smoked cigarettes more than any boat I ever saw. Among others in the crew, the XO smoked like a chimney and the COB literally lit his next cigarette with the one he was smoking. I don't know what the boat would have done had the Navy extinguished the smoking lamp during that era.

1/12/2012 2:49 PM

Anonymous Matt Hayball said...

A good man. Good officer, good submariner.

When sporting a red beard about 1980, he looked like Nicholas II's long lost heir.

1/12/2012 10:11 PM

Blogger waterman said...

Fair winds and following seas

1/13/2012 9:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was TDY on the Birmingham while he had command. Good man, good boat, good crew. He will be missed.

1/13/2012 11:20 AM

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1/13/2012 1:05 PM

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1/14/2012 8:08 AM

Anonymous Subsunk said...

Godspeed CAPT Nestlerode. He was a good soul and a fine shipmate.


1/14/2012 9:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too old. I did a tour with Bob but at my age I'll be damned if I can remember where. BUPERS? SUBSCHOOL? SUBPAC? SUBRON ONE? He was reasonable, calm, intelligent, and a good shipmate.

1/14/2012 10:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sailor rest your oar. He sat my command qualification board. Rest in peace.

1/14/2012 6:47 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

RIP Captain.

I'm guessing Captain Nestlerode was already retired.

My late bride LCDR(NC) Deanne H, USN, also has a date of birth 1951. We lost her to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in October 2009. She left the USN as LCDR(NC) after 10 years in January 1982.

1/14/2012 8:14 PM

Anonymous Veemanmn said...

I worked for Bob Nestlerode at the Navy Warfare Development Command in Newport. He was a decent guy and I am sad to hear of his untimely passing. Condolences to his family.

1/16/2012 6:39 PM

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1/19/2012 8:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was great as a JO. He was my Div O when I was a NUB on the USS Permit.
God Bless him!

1/19/2012 9:59 AM

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1/23/2012 8:34 AM

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2/07/2012 5:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I learned of Bob's death there were mixed emotions. Sad for the loss his family feels and indifferent at the loss of this professional. He overcame many physical and medical challenges in the years preceding command. I knew him when he was stationed at COMSUBGRU 8 in Naples Italy and when in Command in Pearl. My first introduction to him as a Lieutenant was learning that one of his young sons had just fallen out of the second story window of their Italian villa. It was the middle boy. He was not injured and walked to the front door; beat on it until someone let him in. I thought to myself that was different but such was life living overseas.
As months passed 06s came and left. A new boss Walt Peterson and his deputy Drake Donahue would take charge of the gaggle of Lieutenants directing submarine operations against the bad guys in the Med.
Bob headed up a smaller group lieutenants in cramped offices at the old Naval Support Activity in Naples.
He fought bouts of arthritis which made it difficult for him to walk. This challenge, though some thought a valid reason for disqualification for command, would exist the remaining days of his life.
I watched his courageous efforts to combat the challenge. I also watched in complete disgust as Peterson and Donahue would make fun of him behind his back. The caustic working environment made life for most JOs miserable. The only escape, for most of my peers, was to join in.
I quietly found myself moving away from my peers as there seemed to be little in common. In the months that followed I challenged the 06 and 05 when I overheard some of their disparaging remarks. Drawing the line in the sand certainly was a kiss of death for me but I made a decision that I thought was the honorable one.
Unfortunately what followed was complete isolation by my leadership and the peers. It sucked being the shit screen and constantly covering my ass. Spending 60% of my time looking over my shoulder made it impossible to do my job either effectively or well.
One evening, while working late I noticed in Bob's day timer a list of things. No names just dates and times and brief descriptions. I quickly recognized it was a shit list and the comments were about me.
I called Bob at home and asked him if he kept a list of the good things I was doing in addition to the crap listed in his day timer that was open on his desk. He said it was not the appropriate time to talk about it but that we could first thing the next day.
There was no follow up discussion. I met with the Chief of Staff the next AM and requested that he explain to me why this was happening. In my opinion the justification was weak.


3/06/2012 7:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a leader I had always attempted to work with peers and subordinates to identify problems and reasonable solutions. If I was not pleased with something I addressed the issue and offered solutions to correct the matter. I was so disappointed that no one in my command would step up to the plate and mentor or coach me.
The man I fought to defend had joined the ranks of those who ridiculed him and perhaps, with his hands tied, kept a list.
Sad that this is the last memory I have of this fellow Academy grad.
Sad that things could not have worked out better for him, for me and for the others that worked in the command.
VADM Roger Bacon, RADM at the time, was clueless as to what went on in his wardroom. ADM Hank Chiles, his relief was a class act but also isolated from the troubles that brewed at the deck plate level.
Sad that only three of us would make it to Command. The talent was exceptional. The lives that were adversely impacted too many.
It is unfortunate how jerks, in key leadership positions, can adversely affect the lives of those working for them....the trusted subordinates who work hard to do what's right and to protect the boss.
In the end I am comforted to read the kind remarks so many of those that served with Bob left.
I am saddened that my memories were not happier ones.
Rest in peace Bob. Thanks for your service. The world lost a good man.

3/06/2012 7:38 AM

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he was a mentor and a leader in the best sense of both words.

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Anonymous David Lane USNA'81 said...

In response to "anonymous" above,

I was in the same office at the same time as you (at CTF 69) and observed none of the behavior you ascribe to Walt Peterson, Drake Donahue and Bob Nestlerode. They were all totally professional, and it was a great place to work (and a vast improvement over Sam Hester's foul cigars)

Your comments are completely out of line and self-serving.

2/11/2013 12:29 PM

Blogger Tim M. said...

Sounds like someone has some anger issues. I knew Bob Nestlerode in Hawaii when he was at COMSUBPAC and in Naples at CSG-8. In fact Bob and his family were our sponsors when we went to Naples. Bob was a human being. I saw a man who always tried to do what was right. He could get on his high horse once in a while and because he was such an overall easy going guying his indignation could border on comic and yes sometimes we laughed at him. But I just don’t see the evil. I remember a guy who loved his family, loved his country and always tried to do what was right and I know that the vast majority of people who knew Bob would agree. Yes he will be missed.

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