in memoriam

 

President Johnson joined other mourners at National Cathedral yesterday to pay last respects to Secretary of the Navy-designate John T. McNaughton, 45, his wife, Sally, and their youngest son, Theodore, 11, who were killed in an airline crash a week ago.

 

John T. McNaughton and his wife, Sally, had come to Asheville to pick up their youngest son, Theodore, who had spent five weeks starting in June of 1967 at Camp Sequoyah near Weaverville. They were preparing to leave the Biltmore Forest Country Club when McNaughton was paged by a reporter for the Asheville Citizen. Would he agree to an interview?

"Well, there isn't much time," McNaughton said. "Tell you what. A picture is fine, but could we skip any interview about world affairs? At least while I'm on vacation?"

McNaughton was to take over as Secretary of the Navy on Aug. 1. He was one of the "whiz kids" that Robert S. McNamara had recruited when he became Secretary of Defense in 1961. McNaughton, then a Harvard law professor, had risen quickly through the civilian ranks, first the deputy assistant secretary for arms control, then the Pentagon's general counsel, and most recently deputy assistant secretary for international security affairs. He had been the point man for the nuclear test ban treaty, and he probably was McNamara's closest colleague in the Pentagon.

An interview about "world affairs" would mean discussing Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson had talked about the need to raise troop levels there at his press conference the night before, the same day that Great Britain had announced plans to withdraw its troops from Southeast Asia.

McNaughton met reporter Bruce Gourlay and photographer June Glenn Jr. in the lobby and brought them back to the table where he and his family were finishing breakfast. It was 10:10 a.m., and the McNaughtons were leaving for the Asheville airport at 10:30 a.m. for an 11:28 a.m. flight back to Washington. Gourlay and McNaughton discussed the trip, and Glenn took a photo of the family around the table.

The next morning, Glenn's photo, with father and son looking toward each other and Sally McNaughton's coffee cup in mid-air, would be on the front page of The New York Times and the Washington Post.

 

Headline from The Washington Post
 Article from The Spartanbug Herald-Journal