Graduated First In His Class at Naval Officers School, 1951

I graduated first in your class at Naval Officers School in 1951. When I was working at the University of Houston after I had graduated and 8 months later the Korean war broke out. Well I was in the Naval reserves which I joined in order to avoid the draft when I was in college, I wanted to finish my college career.  So, being in the Naval reserve after the Korean war broke out I got my orders to report for duty 3 days later.  I went to boot camp as an enlisted man, my rank was a seaman apprentice and so I had applied to become an Officer since I had graduated from college, but I had been turned down by the Navy. So, after I went into the service as an enlisted man, my father wrote his friend Lindon Johnson who had been an Administrative Aide to the Corpus Christi Congressman where we grew up in the great depression.  LBJ was aide to Congressman Kleberg, Kleberg’s family owned the King Ranch and he was the Congressman from Corpus Christi and LBJ was his Administrative Assistant back in the day when each Congressman had 2 employees, a Secretary and an Administrative Assistant. Welcome Wilson Navy So, my father wrote LBJ asking him to look into why I was not commissioned as an Officer since I had graduated from college.  Well after being an enlisted man for about 4 months I got a telegram from LBJ saying congratulations on being appointed an Officer in the United States Navy and then 2 days later I got the notice from the Navy that I had been commissioned an Officer.  So I set to school in Monterey California, the school was located in a former Country Club in Monterey, it was called the Del Mar Country Club, it was luxurious beyond words and that’s where we had Instructors, I had my wife with me but I couldn’t spend the night with her because I could leave the campus only from 5 – 8 in the evening, so at 5 o’ clock she would pick me up, we’d go home and have dinner and by 8 o’clock I had to be back at the dormitory studying. Well I was never a strong student in college because making a living always came first and so my grades were fair but not good.

So, at the Naval Officers school you are required to be at your desk at 8 o’clock studying, from 8 to 10 no exceptions, and they monitor it by having someone go up and down the hall of the dormitory of the Officer’s quarters, monitoring to be sure that everybody was at their desk studying, so therefore grades were set if I had to study, and was made to study it was very simple. So, as a result of that studying, and by the way we had grading Instructors. One of the Instructors had been in the famous torpedo squadron at Midway, the Battle of Midway in the Pacific which was the first battle that America won during World War II against the Japanese, but he was a great, very interesting fellow, anyway so I graduated first in my class, the class was about 100 people.

It was easy, if you were made to study, you study, and you make good grades.  So then after graduating from class I got my orders to report to a fleet tug.  Tug T-U-G and tugs pulled disabled ships from Hawaii to San Francisco and things like that, well the Commander at the school was insulted that the man who graduated first in his class was being sent to a fleet tug so he called the Pentagon and complained and got my orders changed to go to an aircraft carrier, before I could get to the aircraft carrier my old outfit caught up with me, the Naval Reserve outfit, instead I was sent to Japan to work for the NSA, the National Security Agency.

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“Welcome’s efforts as an entrepreneur have enriched the community, led to better lives for untold numbers of fellow Texans, and inspired generations of admirers and followers to do greater things. My hope is that through reading this book, you will come to know Welcome W. Wilson, Sr., as I have–as a brilliant businessman, a loving family man and a proud Houstonian.”

Rick Perry
Rick PerryUS Secretary of Energy & former Governor of Texas
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