In September 1962 at my home in California, I received a telephone call from Mr. James E. Webb, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, with whom I had previously conferred once briefly in my capacity as a member of the Advisory Council, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. Mr. Webb asked me to come east to meet with him concerning a possible association with NASA. I replied that I expected to be in Washington soon on other business and would be happy to call his office for an appointment. I had learned that Mr. Webb had asked the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. George W. Anderson, to suggest someone, preferably a naval aviator, to head a new office to handle NASA-DOD affairs, and that Anderson had recommended me.
On October 1, 1962, I met with Mr. Webb in his office at NASA Headquarters. Briefly, he said that relationships and interactions between NASA and the agencies of the Department of Defense had reached a scale which indicated the need to establish an office within NASA specifically to handle this area of NASA's affairs. The head of the new office would be responsible to NASA top management. He expressed his view that the qualifications and background experience of a retired senior military officer would best fit the functions of the proposed office. A retired officer not only would have a broad knowledge and understanding of the organization and workings of the Defense Department, but would be able to capitalize on his personal associations, built up over a lifetime career, with many of the officers then in key positions in the Military Services.
Mr. Webb said he preferred a retired naval officer. He indicated that in his opinion an ex-Navy man would be in the best position to be impartial and objective in dealing with current NASA-DOD relationships because of the fact that the Air Force had primary responsibility for military space activities, and in light of the past history surrounding the establishment of the Space Administration, particularly the transfer to it of certain space activities formerly under the Army and Air Force.
Mr. Webb, with his articulate dynamism and infectious enthusiasm, talked to me at length about the NASA aerospace program. He painted a fascinating word picture of the two of us standing together at Cape Canaveral on some future day watching the majestic Saturn V rocket lift into the sky the first men to land on the moon, a promise which was fulfilled seven years later.
The Administrator made only meager reference to the intended specific functions of the new office. I gathered that I would be expected to write my own charter. He did, however, stress two points: the head of the office would be in a line position rather than a staff position; and this new organizational element would remain small, drawing upon all other  elements of the Headquarters for assistance as necessary in discharging its assigned functions and responsibilities.
I told Mr. Webb that I had not been a practicing engineer for twenty years and that I did not like to make speeches. He said he could accept these shortcomings.
Mr. Webb introduced me to the then Deputy Administrator, Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, and the Associate Administrator, Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., pointing out that all major decisions in NASA were made by this trinity acting in concert. Apparently I passed the triple inspection; on October 3, Mr. Webb offered me the assignment.
I must say in retrospect that I have encountered in my lifetime no other management team better balanced in personal characteristics and professional talents to do its job, or better complimenting each other in capabilities, knowledge, and experience. Mr. Webb was called by President Johnson the best administrator in Washington. From years of firsthand experience in high positions in the Executive Branch, he knew the intricacies and nuances of government operations as he knew the back of his hand. He was on a first-name basis with most of the important people on the Washington scene and had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in industry and the scientific and academic communities. He was highly regarded and trusted by the Congress. A lawyer by trade, he had had experience as a corporate executive. His grasp of the technical side of the NASA program was surprising. On top of all that, he was a Reserve Marine aviator. Dr. Dryden was a scientist-statesman of towering intellect. He possessed a vast background of experience in R&D work and was the balance wheel of the triumvirate in judgment and its governor in pace, as I later learned. He was approximately my contemporary in age. Dr. Seamans, the engineer and teacher turned manager, an exceptionally able man in every way and an inspirational leader, was twenty years my junior, but his personality was such that there was to be no difficulty in bridging the generation gap, at least from my point of view.
The prospect of working under these three impressive men in an exciting technical program, and in a capacity that would keep me in touch with old friends and colleagues in the Services, had an instant and strong appeal to me.
In the course of my initial interviews, Dr. Seamans and I had discussed the matter of where the new office should fit into the Headquarters organizational structure. Reverting to his classroom habits as a professor of aeronautical engineering, he had gone to his blackboard and sketched several arrangements. Since he was the NASA General Manager and the newly designated Co-chairman of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board, the principal joint body for coordinating NASA-DOD policies and interactions, he felt that I should report to him as my immediate superior.
 We also had considered the question of a suitable title for the head of the new office. I had expressed the view that the title was important only to the extent that it be one which would facilitate my work by signifying delegated authority to make decisions and a status comparable to that of responsible civilian officials in the Defense Department with whom I would need to work in coordinating NASA and DOD actions and mutual support and in negotiating issues. My senior retired rank would provide access to the top echelons of the Military Services. The title of "Deputy Associate Administrator for Defense Affairs" was agreed upon.
The decision to give up our home in California and move to Washington (where I had always vowed I would never live after retirement from the Navy) was a major one, and I asked for time to ponder it.
"Take as long as you like," was Mr. Webb's considerate reply.
"Give me two months."
After two or three weeks of soul-searching deliberations, my wife and I decided that we should return to the Washington arena in order that I might accept the offered position with NASA. The remainder of my period of grace was spent in disposing of our house in California and making the move to Washington. On December 1, 1962, I reported for work (see Attachment I - News Release #62-249, November 21, 1962).