Hero and True American Patriot: Rear Admiral Philip Dur
Rear Admiral (RADM, 2-star) Philip Dur was this month's speaker at The Ft Walton Yacht Club. Members and guests of the Okaloosa County Republican Club sat enthralled by his speech and the depth of knowledge which covered a wide range of historical subjects and contemporary insights. He mentioned feeling at home among a group of like-minded patriotic Americans.
He applauded all those who served during the Cold War (1945–1991), the last war that America won. His speech was peppered with insights into the past, but his primary focus was on the dangerous future we face.
Philip Dur was born to a diplomat and spent most of his early years overseas. He was educated in the United States, earning undergraduate degrees in international studies followed by a PhD from Harvard. As a 33-year-old commander in the United States Navy, he briefed President Ronald Reagan every day for 30 minutes for months. He thought of the President as a genuine American, brave with love for this country and its people that knew no bounds. He believes this country needs such a leader with Reagan's stature to take us through the troubled times ahead.
He served our nation and the Navy for 30 years at the height of the Cold War and in its aftermath as the Navy struggled to redefine itself in the post-Soviet era world. RADM Dur's career as a surface warfare officer—with a specialization in national policy—took him through a series of exceptional assignments ashore and afloat, where he was both a witness to history—and had a hand in shaping its course.
RADM Dur provided a front-row seat to some of the pivotal events in our nation's history: from the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967 to the high-stakes diplomacy as an advisor to President Ronald Reagan during the Beirut Crisis of 1983. He was also a participant in the last great act of the Cold War with the Black Sea bumping incident between a Soviet frigate and the ship Dur was commanding—the USS Yorktown.
As a Flag officer, he was the chief architect of the Navy's strategy. Admiral Dur's story provides a concise description of the Navy's role in the Cold War from the 1960s to its end with the fall of the Soviet Union. His seat at the table during most of the critical events of that period offers an insightful perspective of policy formation and execution. His insights are vital to understanding how the United States dealt with the complex issues in maintaining a fragile peace with the Soviet Union, which is again headline news.
RADM Dur is a highly decorated military officer, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and many others. Some people in the audience are old enough to remember the headlines of numerous events from the Cold War era, but Admiral Dur offered us "The Rest of the Story." He stressed understanding the importance of freedom of choice and limits of government, and the limits of governance.
He stressed that the most critical role of government is the defence of the American people. It is a defence against foreign and internal threats—crimes against persons and property rampant in this country today. It is essential to focus on the uncertainty and dangerous future ahead. We live in a far more dangerous situation than the one inherited at the end of World War II.
As someone completely unfamiliar with the workings of the Navy, his commanding two great warships—a destroyer and a cruiser—was mind-boggling and fascinating. His stories caused his audience to sit on the edge of their seats, wanting more. His book “Between Land and Sea” is remarkable. A true American hero that I am blessed to call a friend.