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
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
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.