Degrees of Separation


Yesterday, my husband and I were sitting in the base Burger King waiting for our food to be done so we could scarf down a quick yet enjoyable meal sans children. And before I get to the heart of my post, I have to ask; what is it about the service at the base fast food restaurants? My goodness, I've had sit down meals at Red Lobster delivered more quickly! This seems to be true across the spectrum - not to mention the hours that the BK is open. Basically, whenever you probably won't need a meal.

But I digress. Let me get back to the point. Hubby was walking back to the table after checking to see if our food had come up for the umpteenth time when he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. He stared at a young soldier's arm for a moment (the poor soldier, he probably thought he was in some kind of trouble), looked like he was going to say something, then visibly shook himself and walked away.

Hubby had noticed that the young soldier was wearing the Unit Patch from hubby's old Armor Unit.

Normally, such a coincidence is greeted with an immediate handshake and upper arm slap, "Hey!  I served in that unit back in 93 - 95!"

"Really?  I've only been in since I graduated from Blankety-Blank High School in 2002."

"Are they still using the armory at the college?"

"Oh yeah, the thing's falling apart."

"Some things never change.  Is Sgt. Such-and-so still there?  I remember the FTX where he ran out of underwear - that was the same one where we had the issue with the cow on the range."

"You were in with Sgt. Such-and-so?  He's been out for a couple of years, but Sgt. Dude was talking about the underwear and cow FTX just last month!"

And so it goes on.  I noticed early on that when military people meet each other, they have to find a way to establish creds and a connection of some sort.  Had hubby stopped to talk to the young soldier with hubby's old unit patch, the connection would probably have been established fairly soon.  Sometimes, though, it takes a little longer and a little more creativity.

"Hey, nice to meet you!  So, do you fly?"

"No, I'm an Intel Weenie."

"Really?  You must have gone through Goodfellow."

"Oh, yeah!  I was there in 99!"

"I had a guy who rocked out of our class at Laughlin.  He was picked up for Intel School.  Do you know him?"

"Nah, never met him.  But I went to school with someone else who chose to go to Hurlburt for her first assignment."

"Hey!  My old college room-mate was at Hurlburt!"

"Was he stationed with her?"

"When was she there?"

"2000 - 2003."

"Hey!  I'll bet they knew each other!"

And at that point, proper creds have been established and the two people who just met can go get a beer together to wet throats parched from so much talking.

I have to admit that I've participated in the Great Military Credential Search (GMCS) on occasion myself, even though I laugh my behind off every time I catch hubby participating.  Once, I managed to establish a connection with someone in the navy.  It turns out that her brother-in-law was in the Army, and stationed in Alaska at the same time that we were stationed in Texas (she was on Hawaii).  The clincher was the her BIL and my Brother had both gone to Kosovo around the same time.  I, of course, immediately had to call my brother and ask if he knew the other guy.

My brother, in true GMCS fashion, said, "No, I never met him.  What unit did you say he was serving in ?  I wonder if he knew Lt. Otherguy."

And it is in this way that the GMCS game carries on.   

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