When President Ford recently made his flying visit to speak at Ohio State University, he deliberately associated himself with the mystique of one of the country’s top football coaches, Woody Hayes. Few coaches have been able to play the tough schedule and produce the winners year after year like Woody Hayes.
Several years ago, while en route to the Rose Bowl, Woody Hayes gave a press interview in which he philosophized a bit about his formula for success. He said: “Football is a game of fundamentals. …You have to come back to the basic techniques every day. Niceness never won a football game. I can’t get sold on nice people. On fair people, yes, but not nice people. … You have to pay the price to win. You have to want to win.” And then Woody added: “Let me tell you something about those Communists. … They want to win, and they’re willing to pay the price.”
I thought of Woody Hayes’ advice recently when the leading authority on navies all over the world, called JANE’S FIGHTING SHIPS, issued its impressive annual ten-pound volume with 3,000 illustrations describing 15,000 naval vessels from eleven countries, This authority states bluntly that theSoviet Navy has surpassed the United States in submarines, missiles, and cruisers, and is even challenging America’s aircraft carrier supremacy. The Soviets have built 911 ships since 1962. They have 277 submarines to our 127, and 34 cruisers to our 6. The average age of the Sovietship is 9 years while the U.S. average ship age is 16 years.
JANE’S FIGHTING SHIPS points out that the U.S. Navy has been slashed “as a matter of direct policy” from 1,000 ships in 1968 to 514 today. U.S. carriers have been reduced from 24 to 15, other combatant ships from 364 to 168, amphibious ships from 133 to 65, auxiliary ships and patrol craft from 271 to 142, naval combat aircraft from 3,170 to 3,012, and support aircraft from 1,442 to 773.
JANE’S said that the Soviet Navy “leads the world in seaborne missile armament, both strategic and tactical, both ship and submarine-launched.” How could the Soviet Navy come from so far behind and surpass the great United States Navy? The answer is in Woody Hayes’ philosophy.
According to the Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov, the Soviets are spending at least 40 percent of their Gross National Product on defense, whereas the United States today is spending only about six percent of our GNP. The Soviets “want to win” the game for control of the world, and they are “willing to pay the price” for a superior navy.
If we keep on being “nice” to the Soviets instead of paying the price to build a Navy, we will surely go down to defeat.. As Woody Hayes would say, that is just one of the “fundamentals.”