Oh, that's right - ME!
LOL this couldn't have gone better if I scripted it and had Cecil B. deMille direct it. It was EPIC!
First let me say that this has been a truly wonderful week. I will always be grateful to the people who made this possible for me. And a lot of people facilitated this.
Lots of great things happened. I saw things. I learned things. I met people. I spent time with people who truly matter to me. I acquired a Seabee unit - NMCB 21. There will be pictures shortly - as soon as Nic helps me download them.
But for sheer ego inflating, head swelling value...nothing beats Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday night the possibility of a face-to-face sit down between some bloggers and CNO Gary Roughhead was raised. Who would go? My response? "Pick me! Pick me!"
But alas, the face-to-face sit down was not to be. Because of the impending snow storm, many participants in #WEST10 are headed back to the DC area early. At the start of his remarks ADM Roughead noted that his visit would be truncated.
As I tweeted soundbites from his remarks, I also contacted my two favorite PAOs; @FlyNavy and @NavyNews. I asked who could get me in a spot where I could shake the ADM Roughead's hand. That was all I wanted. A handshake. A "Hi, I'm BostonMaggie. Nice to meet you, sir."
What I got.....you can't even believe!
First off, one contact told me to that of all the people in the luncheon that I would want to meet, I should find LCDR Chris Servello. Chris is the public affairs officer for VADM D. C. Curtis, Commander, Naval Surface Forces. VADM Curtis gave the introductory remarks before ADM Roughead spoke. They were pretty funny and centered on the idea that you never know who you are going to have an impact on, so always try to set a good example.
The other contact told me to find CAPT Chun, ADM Roughead's public affairs officer.
So after the speaking concluded, I was off and searching. I found LCDR Servello and darned if he didn't remember me from a Bloggers Roundtable. I was stunned. We talked for a few moments and I asked if he would come over to the USNI booth and meet some of the other bloggers. Off we went to the booth where I introduced Chris to Mary Ripley, our media wizard; URR, USNI blogger (yeah, I know, you are hearing that in my Boston voice and laughing); and CDR Salamander. I excused myself and dashed back to the speakers area to try to find CAPT Conrad Chun, ADM Roughead's public affairs officer.
ADM Roughead was just wrapping up greeting some Sailors and I stood off to the side. CAPT Chun had been pointed out the me by another PAO named Dora. Dora, I apologize, I was so wrapped up in my Roughead moment, I missed your last name, but I'll figure it out.
Anyway, I spotted my chance and introduced myself to CAPT Chun. He smiled with a look of genuine recognition and returned my greeting. I know when people are pretending to know who I am out of being polite. This was not the case - and when it is, I understand. I actually know what a small fish I am.
CAPT Chun turned to ADM Roughead and said "Excuse me sir, this is BostonMaggie." And again, I was greeted with warmth and recognition. You could have knocked me over with a feather!
Then a woman's voice exclaimed "That's BostonMaggie?" and I turned and there was the Admiral's wife, Ellen. I walked over and told her I was a fan of hers too.
The CNO then said "My wife says you are the reason I am CNO." What!!! Are you kidding me! He was referring to the CNO pool in the blog back before his nomination in June & July of 2007. The Chief of Naval Operations knew who I was!
I was beside myself! But I had the presence of mind to know that this was nothing without witnesses. I looked up and saw Galrahn. I called over to him "Come over here! Hurry" As soon as Galrahn got close I turned to the CNO and said "Say it again!"
And. He. Did.
I have a witness.
then he coined me. Not in the "Here you go" hand it to me way. But the way it's supposed to be done. He put it in the palm of his hand and shook my hand, passing it. Then there was a picture. As soon as I have it, I will post it here.
At one point I remember (and a lot of this was just a blur) stepping back from everyone and giving myself the "V". That's a private joke between Jen and Grace and I. When one of us gets something right, the others will say "Give yourself the "V" and you throw your arms up in the air.
I squealed so loud that I am sure dolphins in San Diego Bay were crying and dogs all over California were howling.
Someone mentioned the picture on the blog of the big gun. So I said "Oh that's right Admiral, I was up at Port Hueneme visiting BMC Dotson and NMCB 21. They were great." He answered that he loved the Seabees. Of course! Who doesn't!
Then the official party was gone and there I was with my coin....bursting to show it off.
I ran back to the booth....seriously I ran. Mary Ripley had to play the role of my sisters and tell me to get a grip on myself.