by mailman


 [ 747 ] +

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I reported to my first ship two months after Desert Storm, when all the carrier groups were just coming back from the "war". The ship I was assigned to had just returned to Mayport, Florida that morning, and was set to get underway again the next morning to go to Fort Lauderdale for a "Servicemens' Appreciation Day" put on by the city.
No one was looking forward to this event at all. They'd just got back from an eight-month deployment of sitting off the coast of Saudi Arabia waiting for something to do. They wanted to go home, spend some time with the family, and relax. The last thing these guiys needed was to have to dress up in the dress whites and be fawned over as "heroes". No one likes the dress white uniforms.
The day we got liberty call, when everyone left in their hated dress whites, I went to my Senior Chief and asked to speak to him privately. I told him that I'd just reported to the ship, and that I'd spent the war in A-school, and that I didn't feel right about this liberty thing. I told him that these guys just got home from defending their country, and were completely deserving of all the accolades that the people of Fort Lauderdale wanted to shower upon them, but if I were to go out in uniform, it would put me on equal footing with them, and that wasn't right. It would cheapen the experience for the rest of them.
In the words of Ferris Bueler, "Unbelievable. Worst performance of my career, and he never doubted it for a second!" Senior Chief told me I was right, and he didn't think it would be right for me to take part in these festivities, and that I could go on liberty, but I wasn't allowed to wear my uniform. I "had" to wear civilian clothes, while everyone else wore the dress whites!
Oh, please, Mr Senior Chief, please don't throw me in that briar patch!