Yes, that is right. Breakfast and photo op, me and hundreds of my new very best friends.
Standing in line waiting for security screening it was well below freezing at 0615 in the morning. Most of us, haven been given an 0630 show time new better. Early is much better than the end of the line. Even so, I wound up around the corner along the Disney fence from the Dragon DFAC. Right behind me in line were some no so happy young soldiers and airmen. You would think that they would have thought to wear jackets…..
Anyway, these type of situations are always great for meeting new people. The kind of service members who spend their lives behind the scenes, doing a job on a daily basis for which they rarely get credit. In fact, I don’t think that most of us even realize that these jobs even exist.
For example, I wound up talking to this very interesting pilot. Married with three children, he and his crew have been doing 3 months home in AZ, 3 months in theater for a significant length of time. They fly aircraft that are restricted from the rest of us. After having first spent 10 years in the Navy, he is not sure that he wouldn’t rather do 6-9 months, then get a solid 12 months home. Since he doesn’t get a vote, he drops in and out of the family. His job is critical to the safety of ground manoeuvre troops, most of whom don’t even realize that they have this level of protection.
Then there is the guy who just returned this morning from R&R to stumble into the DFAC not realizing that we had an event in progress. On a daily basis? He is one of the iron majors who just happens to deal with news, information services and media. Also married with three kids, we discussed the great and not so great things about being stationed in Germany. He would like Heidelberg as his next duty assignment prior to retirement. Failing this dream? It would be nice to get his protective gear checked out of hold so he can catch a flight back to his job in Kabul.
Vice President Biden worked his way around the DFAC, shaking everyone’s hand, stopping for every picture that anyone wanted (yes, cell phones and cameras were allowed, no pointy objects or weapons, no surprise). I had not planned on being in the picture queue – I was the only one of us three at the end of our table with a camera. Didn’t stop VP Biden – so here is my picture as well.
Unlike the President, smart dudes with me cleared it with the security detail and gave the VP unit patches, receiving Coins in return. Not a bad souvenir of an otherwise long deployment.