The USS Mariano Vallejo, a submarine packing Polaris ballistic missiles, was one of America's most powerful weapons. It was not the first effort by the United States to pay homage to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, one of California's first titans; plans had been drawn back in 1942 to build a Fargo-class light cruiser bearing his name. Ships of the line are named for individuals who have played a prominent role in our national affairs or served our national interests, such as presidents and admirals. But Mariano Vallejo was of Spanish descent, born in Monterey in 1807, when California was a Spanish domain, and where he later served as a commanding general for Mexico's California department. How did he come to earn such an American honor? This is the story of a frontier cosmopolitan, a visionary who could see past the limits of his horizons, past all political and cultural biases, and attain an equal measure of power and respect. The Bear Flag revolt under John C. Fremont's imprimatur is often cited as the insurgency that brought California into American hands. But Vallejo had a vision and opened the doors long before Fremont had the slightest interest in California.