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NPS Education Leads to Alumnus’ Unique Claim to Fame
Photo courtesy Dr. Gregory Young

NPS Education Leads to Alumnus’ Unique Claim to Fame

By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

NPS alumnus Dr. Gregory Young, a retired Navy commander, has a one-of-a-kind claim to fame that he attributes to the thesis he wrote while attending NPS. Titled, “Mutiny on Storozhevoy: A case study of dissent in the Soviet Navy,” his work would later become the inspiration for Tom Clancy’s best-selling book, “The Hunt for Red October.”

“I started my master’s by looking at the non-quantifiable aspects of military power. I wanted to look at unit cohesion and hazing, training, and fighting within the ranks,” explained Young. “I put ads in seven papers looking for anyone who had served in the Soviet Navy in particular, or the military in general, who experienced any instances of problems with morale.”

Of the many responses he received to his ads was an unidentified caller from a phone booth outside the public library in Washington, D.C., who shared a compelling story of mutiny on the Storozhevoy, a submarine frigate in the Soviet Navy. The rest is history, he says.

“That was when I wrote my thesis, changing my focus to the Soviet Navy, demonstrating that it was not nearly as powerful as we [perceived it to be] … This was a case study where, in some cases, morale was rotten to the core in fact,” Young added.

Young ended his naval career as a teacher and now continues to teach political science and international affairs at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“NPS made me an academic … I was an undergraduate and I did really well, but I had no intention on being an academic. It was NPS, and writing that dissertation, spending a year commuting to Stanford and getting involved in small classes … that’s what committed me,” said Young. “The fact that I am teaching is because of the impact NPS had on me.”
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September 2016

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