Sunday, October 25, 2015

Balls and the Dixie Chicken...what?!

The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets' Navy and Marine ROTC battalion birthday ball was last night!
(Our official birthday is November 10th, but we celebrated early)
I was skeptical about going because when we were stationed in Boston, the midshipmen balls felt like I was at a high school prom.
These young college students are barely out of high school in ROTC.
The only formal event most of them have ever attended is their prom.
The students in Boston didn't seem the exude as much pride as actual Marines and Sailors do during our birthday celebration either.
In Boston, I thought the Marine birthday ball was lame, and I hated that it didn't quite celebrate the Marine Corps' birthday alone.
It was more focused on the Navy birthday, and it took away from the Marine tradition of celebrating our own.

Texas A&M's Corps of Cadets did NOT disappoint!
They paid homage to the Navy, and gave the Marine Corps the same amount (if not more) of respect.
It was held at the the College Station Hilton, and I must admit that it was one of my more memorable balls.

Here are 3 things that I noticed, however, as a 31 year old woman at a formal event at Texas A&M surrounded by young impressionable cadets and their dates.

*I forget how self conscious I was as a young woman between the ages of 16-22(ish). These gorgeous (and adorable) young college girls were wearing their beautiful ball gowns, hunched over, arms crossed, looking super self conscious of their bodies. I wanted to pull them all aside and tell them all how gorgeous they looked, and to own their bodies. I wanted to tell them that once you get older and have children and have a life and a mortgage and bills and blah blah's a lot more work to look as fabulous as they do now. "UNCROSS YOURS ARMS, STAND UP STRAIGHT, AND ACT LIKE YOU OWN THAT ROOM!"

*Since we are in the south, and the "southern gentleman" is still very prevalent here at TAMU, it was nice to have so many handsome young cadets being so polite to all the women. But for the love of God, please stop calling me "ma'am". I'm not an Officer in the Marine Corps, and I sure as hell am not old (yet). If you really want to be formal, you can call me "Ms. Romer"....not "Mrs." because "Mrs." sounds old. I overheard a couple cadets refer to me as "Gunny's wife". That's fine, but I prefer to be called by my name or "Ms. Romer". I have a pretty spectacular identity beyond being just "the Gunny's wife". 

*When you're with a date, and start talking to someone.....PLEASE...introduce your date to who you're talking to. It is so awkward to be just standing there not knowing who you're talking to. Yes, Nick is guilty of this (but he's gotten better). Before you start a deep conversation with someone, how about a, "oh hey, before I forget...this is my date/wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/fling so and so. A lot of these young midshipmen seem to have forgotten the art of introducing their date. I don't know how many times, I had to ask the date of a cadet, "oh, and who are you again?"

The ball was a fabulous event, and I had an absolute blast. 
I was so impressed by the professionalism of all the cadets (of course because they are Aggies), and I was so impressed by how smoothly the event ran.
I am definitely looking forward to a few more events and balls with the TAMU Corps of Cadets.

Cocktail hour!
My dress is a Camila and Marc dress!

See the bartenders photobombing our pic?

Colonel Bright, his wife Jill, and Nick.
I just want to add how awesome the Colonel and his wife are.
Colonel Bright is the "head honcho"/professor of Naval science for the entire Texas A&M Navy and Marine Corps battalion.
He has an impressive resume in the Corps, and yet when you meet him and his family, they are the most humble people you'll ever met.
They are EXTREMELY personable, and Colonel Bright has a way to truly make the Marines that he is in charge of really feel important.
A lot of high ranking Officers and Senior SNCO's in the Corps lose that sense of connection with their jr. Marines, and can oftentimes seem disconnected with them.
But, I absolutely love his style of leadership. 
He is a "take no crap", "show up and perform" kinda guy.
I can only assume that this attitude is the reason for his success as a leader of Marines.

Is this cake not AMAZING?!

The guest of honor was Colonel Russo.
Colonel Russo was Nick's CO at 5/11 and his XO when he was a drill instructor.
Colonel Russo had a small part in Nick's acceptance into the MECEP program to come to A&M with his way too generous recommendation letter for Nick.
He's a Notre Dame grad (we all make mistakes), but his speech at the ball for the cadets was inspiring, heartfelt, and motivating.
I could tell he had so much more to say to them, but was trying to "keep it short".
His advice as a senior Officer is gold, and the cadets are extremely lucky to have gotten to get a "little" piece of him.
I promise you that he received a warm Aggie welcome, and was embraced by the amazing Aggies.

Me and Capt Mueller!
She is one of the MOI's (Marine Officer Instructor), and a prior enlisted aviation ordnance technician!!! 

That handsome guy in the tux is Nick's advisor for Ag Leadership (his major).

This smoking hot woman in the red dress is my friend Carley!
Her husband and Nick are the only two Gunny's in the MECEP program!

After the ball, we all headed to the legendary Dixie Chicken for a nightcap, conversation, and company.
We had an absolute blast!

You know an awesome CO, when he decides to come out with us to the Chicken to have a beer, and hang out!

The 240th Birthday ball was an absolute blast.
I couldn't have asked for a better group of Aggies to celebrate it with!

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