December 21, 2011

Overlooked Cool Aspect of Bigger Story

AP Photo/Brian J. Clark
Having been in the Air Force working with the Army, I haven't had a lot of exposure to Navy traditions, despite the fact that my Maternal Grandfather was a Naval Officer.

Evidently there is a tradition that when a ship comes back from a long deployment a sailor is picked to be the first to embrace their loved one with a First Kiss.

Guess it beats sailors pushing past each other to get a little action on the docks.

The Associates Press is reporting today that history was made when Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta kissed her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic on the docks after the USS Oak Hill arrived at its home port of Virginia Beach, VA.  This was the first such kiss after the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell".

I'm going to refrain from any social commentary on the rightness or wrongness of this First Kiss.  I don't care and furthermore I don't care what your opinion on the matter is anyway.  I'm just trying to set the stage for what I consider the cool parts.*

USS Oak Hill
Evidently the crew of the USS Oak Hill were perfectly fine with Marissa's (Sorry, but I don't know how to abbreviate her rank) selection to get the First Kiss.  The thing is, they don't mind because they all had pretty much the same opportunity to get that chance as she did.  That's right, Marissa wasn't selected in order to make a statement, she just got lucky.

If you cycle past all the "historical precedence" that pretty much every single news source (that is) reporting this event and skip down to the end of the AP article, you'll find what I thought was cool.  The selection for First Kiss was made via a raffle held by those on board and their loved ones on shore.  The proceeds from the First Kiss raffle went to fund a Christmas Party for the children of the USS Oak Hill crew.

Often the military has to take care of its own and I always find it cool when they think of creative and cool ways to do it.

*If you want my opinion, the sexuality of the First Kiss couple is, or should be, a non-issue.  The crew didn't think it was an issue, nor did the Navy (hence no pre-press release).  The only reason it even made the AP was because there is usually a photographer around when a ship comes home.

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