McFarland Remembered

08.31.35 RADM James S McFarlandJames Steven McFarland passed from this life 13 years ago. He started a remarkable career as a Yeoman, rising to Flag rank over the course of his distinguished career in the Navy and the Intelligence Community. I first met RADM Jim McFarland in Hawaii, preparing for my first gig in my secondary (maybe it was primary) MOS of Mr. Vice. ADM "Sly Bob" Foley was to be president of the mess; there was concern that there would be no repeat of the infamous Lockwood Hall Dining In. I got tagged with the responsibility of keeping good order and discipline in the Mess. The Admiral walked me through the potential pitfalls, and everyone was on their best behavior.

Jim was an engaging man as well as an outstanding and visionary Cryptologic Specialist. His key role in establishing the OPINTEL center at FOSIF Rota in the mid-1970s was recognized at the Spring NIP Red Tie luncheon in the remarks of retired CAPT George Pressly, Rota's first CO. Jim CFarland''s Cryptologic Support Group was instrumental in the accuracy of the Ocean Surveiilance Information System (OSIS). Vince recalls being blasted by the Admiral as "the dumbest intel officer he had seen" in Rota in 72 when he first reported, to his visit to Midway (CV-41) in 80, when he said "well there is some hope for you. " He said Jim was " inspirational for me, and was my mentor and friend. I will always remember his leadership, brash style, uncanny intellect, and just exceptional personality. He influenced me and so many others."

Joe Maz got to know him better in retirement. Joe commented that Jim established Oracle’s Intelligence Business unit when he was hired there 25 years later. "People were still talking about Jim and seemed envious that I knew him," remarked Joe. "He was a great guy who did great things."

I wish I had known the contents of the citation below for his actions in Vietnam. This retrospective was originally published at Station Hypo ( on 31 August, and was forwarded across the by the legendary Cryptologist Ivan Dunn, who commented "he left us too soon." - Ed