Uniform Check

I had a brief this afternoon, right after lunch. Sixty (mostly military) folks from commands all over, in town for an overview of my office. I give both the general brief and the specifics of my small shop. I am one of about fifteen briefers for the day. Ten minutes before go-time, I decide to swing by the head to make sure I look presentable. Haircut, a quarter-inch, not a hair off. Gig-line, perfect. Shirt, pressed. Trousers, a crease you could shave with. One last look, hey! What is a drop of lunch doing right above my ribbons? Good thing I checked. The Navy was brilliant in picking khaki as its uniform color. I’ve spilled more coffee on me than I’ve gotten down my thirsty gullet. Note to self: a quick uniform once-over is required before all presentations. You never know where or when a Navy inspection is going to happen.

13 thoughts on “Uniform Check”

  1. 29th July 1981.
    Full Ceremonial Blues, London. The royal wedding of Charles & Diana.

    I had the pleasure of standing to attention with my back to the crowd as part of the street lining duties with Alpha Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines. Behind me in the swell of ‘civvies’ an exuberant mother kept lifting her toddler high in the air to gain a better view of the coach procession, each time I received a kick in the back from two tiny feet. I then heard her whisper “sorry, but my daughter has dripped ice cream down the back of your uniform”!

    From the corner of my mouth I whispered back “what flavour”?

    “Vanilla” came the reply…

    “Don’t worry, it’s my favourite”…

    She laughed, (I had an inward laugh), and the remainder of the day was great for one and all.

    After returning to a London military base to change; I was amazed to find a hastily written note that had been tucked into my pocket, that read “Dear handsome marine, we both apologise for our excitement, love from Sarah (mum) & Polly Anne x”
    I absolutely flushed with pride as it was a time when service people were low priority in this country. (I know it said that as I still have it in my marines foot locker, and I have just read it to ensure I typed it correctly).

    Incidentally the ‘vanilla’ looked as if I had taken a hit from a dockyard sea gull, the stain of which ran from collar to buttock!

    Yours Aye.

    1. Is there a photo of that somewhere Ex Bootneck…just out of curiosity of course…I was in communications while in the Navy…Naval Security Group, you know…I always have a research capability and a curiosity to find such evidence ….in my nature of course….have a great day….enjoyed the anecdote….k

    1. Lil Chantilly

      My brother had reason to stay awhile recently, he said I was driving him crazy with my ‘over-the-top-neatness’ (he reckoned I suffered with some kind of OCD).

      We checked the National Health Service website for the symptoms of such;
      1. OBSESSION – where your mind is overwhelmed by a constant obsessive fear or concern, such as the fear your house will be burgled.
      (Not so. I welcome someone to come and visit me in the hours of darkness, they may enter, they will not leave, and of that I am certain).

      2. ANXIETY – this obsession provokes a feeling of intense anxiety and distress:
      (After pondering this one for a ‘nano’ second, we came to the conclusion that I have no worries, angst, apprehension or concerns about anything that life’s tapestry can throw my way).

      3. COMPULSION – you then adopt a pattern of compulsive behaviour to reduce your anxiety and distress, such as checking all your windows and doors are locked at least three times before you leave your house.
      (My only craving in life is for a nice pot of tea first thing in the morning; I check the water level in the kettle once before I turn it on. I unlock the door to check my mail, it remains unlocked until I leave the property to go on an adventure or walk the dog).

      4. TEMPORARY RELIEF- the compulsive behaviour brings temporary relief from anxiety, but the obsession and anxiety soon return, causing the pattern or cycle to begin again.
      (Please refer to all of the answers above and then place them in the right context)…

      I tend to be more chilled out than a polar bears nose in winter… tidier than ten Nuns in a convent… cleaner than the china mans laundry shop on Her Majesty’s Ship, and neater than the line of buttons on Nelsons battle jacket.

      My brother came to the conclusion that the ‘NHS’ should update their theories and include Ex Bootneck’s in another category.

      Yours Aye.

      1. Ex B: Ok, that was the best thing I read all night! (sorry NavyOne – this comment rocked!) I am with your brother, you not only need your own category, but maybe your own branch of science in general. You’d be a fascinating study!

  2. Kristen

    For the period concerned, Alpha Company was accommodated at Hounslow Cavalry Barracks in West London, which was/is a very old established army base.

    At that time 40 Cdo RM was based in Seaton Barracks at Crownhill, Plymouth. To escape Plymouth for a run-ashore up ‘in the smoke’ (London) for a week was a rarity, even though it meant dressing up in full ceremonial ‘Blues’ throughout the day.

    My favourite watering holes when visiting London always have been around Covent Garden, (then off to China Town for a good old nosebag). Though there are decent places within the ‘garden’ area…

    If I recall correctly, there were photographs in the Evening Standard of the company on parade. Certainly they would be in the Corps Museum archive at Eastney, Southsea, Portsmouth.

    Yours Aye.

  3. EB: Love the story, you have sang froid, or steely resolve. I’ll bet you treasure that note, especially considering it was a low moment for public/military interaction.
    Kris: Ha ha, digging for evidence!
    Lil C: You are one of the more difficult Sailors I know.

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