Armed Forces: Man in the Middle

In the reaches of the world's oceans, the man who commands a ship is, by necessity as well as by tradition, the unquestioned lord of his vessel. Some top admirals of the U.S. Navy carry this quality to shorebound duties in the Pentagon. But nowadays they are questioned by an equally authoritarian operator, Defense Secretary Robert Mc-Namara. And right in the middle of these collision-bound forces sits a string bean of a Texan who holds down one of the most impossible jobs in Washington: Navy Secretary Fred Korth.

Korth, 53, is slightly stooped, combs his white hair severely back, wears...

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