BY WILLIS M. HAWKINS AND MANY OTHERS
Unique in the World of major technical developments, especially those involving the U.S. government, is the continuing success of the nearly forty-year U.S. Navy Polaris-Poseidon-Trident program. It may have set an unattainable standard for any equally important national endeavor. The foundation of that success most certainly was the leadership and quiet vision of Levering Smith, retired vice admiral, U.S. Navy. Levering died on April 5, 1993, leaving a void among his peers that cannot adequately be described, and a legacy of lifelong accomplishment in support of his nation that history may not fully appreciate because of Levering's reasoned and humble approach to each new challenge.
There would be no lack of contributors to a chronicle of Levering's towering intellect, his respect for every person who participated in his endeavors, and the integrity of his actions and decisions. Everyone who has ever worked with, or for, Levering knows of his patient, open approach to each new goal—using, and giving credit for, every sound idea and accomplishment. Levering's leadership style was almost the antithesis of that of the textbook, dynamic, emotional leader about which stories are told. He was a leader because he respected the goals of his superiors, respected the responsibilities he had been given, and respected the capabilities of those working for and with him, and he made this apparent to everyone without ever a touch of ego.