Admiral Shear Comes Aboard
Admiral Harold E. Shear had retired from the U. S. Maritime Administration in 1985 and returned to his home in the New London area when, as was often the case, the future of the State Pier was being debated. By the 1990s, arguments were heating up and, with his credentials, convictions and ability to persuade, Admiral Shear became a singularly effective proponent of revitalizing the Pier.
As he had written in 1992, reported in The Day by Robert Hamilton (Feb. 7, 1999), "The combined assets of the state, the Central Vermont Railroad and New London must be brought into this enterprise under the direction of an experienced competent, competitive and aggressive terminal operator who can bring commerce into the port." (Logistec, a Canadian port operator was appointed to run the Pier four years later.)
Admiral Shear's lawyer, Robert "Chip" Anderson, was quoted: "He saw it as a means of restoring the prominence of maritime commerce in New London...He got the project back on track and saved it."
The State of Connecticut ultimately invested $30 million to restore the Pier. In a 1997 press release Governor John G. Rowland announced that it would be renamed in honor of Admiral Shear. "Through his foresight and perseverance, Admiral Shear has been a driving force in promoting the economic potential of this southeast Connecticut port. He never lost sight of the pier's strategic importance and the role it plays in positioning Connecticut in the global economy."
Said the Governor after Shear's death two years later: "He inspired the community to come together, and he had the vision to get people excited. He was also able to bring together people from the community and state government."
The U. S. Maritime Administration: How a Navy admiral's credentials included experience with commercial shipping.
MARAD, the unit of the U.S. Department of Transportation led by Admiral Shear from 1981 to 1985, "promotes the use of waterborne transportation and its integration with other segments of the transportation system." It also seeks to maintain "the viability of the U.S. merchant marine." www.maritime.dot.gov
The Office of Port and Infrastructure Development, a unit of MARAD, states on its page of the site: "America's ports and their related elements make up the backbone of our intermodal transportation network. MARAD is committed to developing this infrastructure at every level. We work constantly to improve port technology, logistics, and storage."
Photo above: The Port of Long Beach, California, featuring RMS Queen Mary, is used as a logo by MARAD's Office of Port and Infrastructure Development