This past weekend I traveled to Norman Oklahoma to attend the Navy ROTC reunion. I had the pleasure of meeting up with old classmates, and the privilege of meeting the huge unit of 120 Midshipmen. We graduated 7 of us, way back in 82, and 4 of us made it there. These two, Dan Churchman and Pete Swartz are largely responsible for bringing it all together.
Our other grad, James Spann has not changed or aged at all in 27 years.
In all 50 alumni going all the way back to the class of 1956 attended. The class of 1969 was there in force for their 40th reunion. Ms. Murray, flanked by Jill and Janet was the face of the front office for a long time and she has not forgotten a single student who has passed through her doors. If you had not guessed, today’s blog will only be marginally about photography
Of course I hauled my camera and was wandering around the armory as the students were busily setting the place up for the bbq.
The Battalion PAO, Midn Cassie, had her camera and so naturally we started chatting. She had been assigned the duty at the start of the year and was still finding her way around the camera. She had briefly been assigned as a combat correspondent in the Marine Corps, but is working her way towards a commission after graduation.
She had a lot of great questions and was incredibly enthusiastic and so we spent much of the reception shooting in parallel so that she could experiment with the camera. After a while, I entrusted my Nikon to her care and said “have fun”. Normally, one wouldn’t hand a young college student you’d just met, your camera. However, she like the other Midshipmen there are being handed things far more valuable than a piece of hardware. As junior officers in the Navy and Marines, we are entrusting the lives of our young sailors and Marines into their care. They are going truly into harms way in the far reaches of the world. All of them were polite, intelligent, and collected and it made me very proud.
The son of my across the hall neighbor Mike and his wonderfully crazed mom Loretta, is there as a student. I've known him since he was a baby and now he is a sophomore—good thing he looks like his mom.
The CO of the Unit, CAPT Pat Roane, welcomed the guest speaker, RADM Doug McClain, (OU 1979). Doug is now the Director of Global Operations at US Strategic Command, http://www.stratcom.mil/default.asp?page=biographies&id=29 where he is directly involved in leading the world wide fight against terror. Doug spoke to the students, as it was the 8th anniversary of September 11. To those of us who lost friends and colleagues, there is no danger of forgetting. His message to all, was a reminder that they too should never forget.
The 120 young men and women now enrolled there at OU, and the thousands others at other colleges and universities are all there as volunteers, they know what they are going to face and we are lucky that they are all dedicated and committed. As an important side note, Roger’s son, the 1LT, just returned from his first year in Iraq. He too has answered the call and is committed to serve our country.
So while I got to work with a young photographer, I’m the one who walked away having learned the most. Thanks.