Strangers in a Strange Land

There is a real assortment of which people are wearing which uniforms here. I have seen US Air Force in Air Force fatigues, Navy fatigues, and Army fatigues (in all cases, the rank markings are Air Force, as is the label over the left pocket). Similarly, I have seen Navy personnel in the 3-color Navy fatigues, the Marine Corps fatigues, and in Army fatigues. You wear the jersey of the team you’re playing with, it appears.

So there I was yesterday, standing in formation for the ramp ceremony honoring a fallen Canadian, when I notice the fellow standing next to me. He’s in an Army uniform, but the patch on his left shoulder is … can it be? … from the Navy Engineering Duty Officer School (my professional specialty group). No mistaking that design — a large 5-bladed ship propeller.

So we had a brief chat, this silver-haired Navy Lieutenant and I. Turns out, he’s one of eight Navy Engineers sent over as an Individual Augmentee (sailors sent to the sandbox because the Army was shorthanded, there are thousands of these). In real life, he’s the Program Manager for the Saturated Diving program at Supervisor of Salvage.

We both miss salt water. Big time.

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