A Busy Week and Quarterdeck Ball

Dear Friends and Family, (January 25, 2009)

Well, its been a very busy week, mostly because of a paper I had to write. I made the mistake of leaving it as the last thing to do, not realizing that the reading I had to do before I wrote the paper would take me much longer than I expected. Thus I tried to stay up really late finishing it, and therefore fell asleep without setting my alarm, and consequently was late for drill the next morning. This constituted a UA (unauthorized absence), my very first *boooo*. This was rather embarrassing, stressful, and painful, mostly just because I was mad at myself *grrr*. UAs aren’t that uncommon, particularly among the freshman during fall quarter. One UA isn’t that big a deal, but if it happens again you start to be in big trouble. Anyway, so that was kind of a bummer, but I survived and managed to turn in my paper (don’t know how well I wrote it though). Right now I’m mostly tired and not wanting to write because I’d rather be reading my book on British Intelligence my Aunt gave me for Christmas (it is very interesting).

I will, however, persevere for a bit and tell you all about Quarterdeck ball yesterday, since it was quite an event. Quarterdeck ball happens ever year for the NROTC unit around the end of January. It marks the change of the set, which is when the officers for the previous set rotate out and new officers are appointed (thing like academics officer, public affairs officer, supply officer, etc). The upper-class Midshipmen are given these billets (offices) to prepare them for holding billets in the fleet. It is also a general time to socialize, invite a date (or your wife if you’re married), and have a good time.

I escorted myself to Quarterdeck (I must say to myself, I looked quite good *snicker*). I got to sit beside a young reservist in the Navy who recently joined the unit. As enlisted reserve he did intell. work on his tour in Afghanistan. It was very interesting talking to him and I learned more about how intell. works in the military. Also at my table was the “other” Thomas of the unit, Thomas, T. whereas I am Thomas, L. There are two sets of brothers currently in NROTC, the Dreiss’ and the Kuhns, but other than that we two Thomas’ are the only people with the same last name, in fact I believe we are the only people with the same last name that aren’t related. Fortunately, Thomas, T. is in Aviation and I am in SSWO (this winter) and in Mike Co. (in the spring), so we don’t get mixed up.

We had a very good speaker, a retired USMC reserve Medal of Honor recipient from WWII who fought at Iwo Gima (in case you didn’t know, Medal of Honor is the highest award that can be given to any military person, there are only 98 living out of the millions of people who have fought and died in the past 60+ years). He was quite interesting, and very funny, telling several great Marine jokes that I will have to remember (but have probably already forgotten). He told us about his experience at Iwo Gima and how he won his medal. The combat choir sang (that is the midshipmen choir for our unit) the national anthem, the navy hymn – Eternal Father Strong to Save, and another very old navy song that I can’t remember the name of. But it was very pretty, they did a good job. After dinner awards were given and next set’s billets were announced. Finally, when all the formal stuff was over, our very own jazz band took the floor and there was dancing. It is indeed very amusing to see people you are used to seeing in strict uniform and always serious jamming away at a guitar and drum-set, or out on the floor dancing up a storm. I mostly sat back and laughed, and talked to a few people, before taking my leave at 10:30 (the dancing was still in full swing).

I’ve now exhausted my attention span and that’ all your going to get from me this week. Have a good week and feel free to e-mail me yourself so I know how you are doing (I miss you guys!).

In Christ

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