I got in rather late Sunday night to find out that Ray would be frocked Monday morning at 10:30. For you non-navy people, Ray was selected to promote to Captain a couple of months ago. His actual promotion wasn’t supposed to take place until sometime late next year. Because of his current job, it was decided to by someone higher up than my pay grade to promote him early. He got his pin, and all that comes with being Captain except for the pay. We’ll have to wait until sometime late next year for that. I was aware that Ray was going to be frocked early. I just didn’t know if was going to come at 10:30 in the morning the day after I got home.
Ray and I discussed over and over where it would happen. I was gunning for the Mighty MO. I love that ship. It looks out over the harbor and stands watch over the Arizona. Ray didn’t want the pomp and circumstance of all that. In fact, Ray would have been happy to have a small ceremony with only the kids and me. I remind him all the time that it’s not always about him, the new young sailors need to see the ceremony and understand the value but… it was more important to us that our kids be there than the young sailors and as I came closer it was apparent that it was all going to happen on a coveted day off. We would never ask people to get all dressed up in the middle of the morning on their day off to watch a 15 minute ceremony. After lots of talk, we decided that the proper place would be the old Arizona memorial. It looks out on the new memorial and Pearl Harbor and is a great reminder of why Ray chose to serve his country.
The nice thing about jet lag… I’m up early. I had time to iron clothes and primp and do hair. Bria’s was still a little wet but drying all that hair is a bit of a problem. We were out the door. Ray insisted on being quiet about it, but the people that work with him found out and were right there to support all of us. I can’t tell you how much I love all the people at NEPMU6. They will be a HUGE reason that we miss Hawaii so much.
Okay, so for what you want to see…THE PICTURES…
Captain Via said a few words about the history of oaths and why this day is so special, and then proceeded to have Ray take the oath. It goes something like this, “I, Raymond Stiff, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
Then, we are allowed to change out his shoulder boards. He gets a new stripe.
The general idea was that Hanan and Jack would change out one side, and Arleigh and Bria would change out the other. Everyone participated I just had to resnap them in place. Couldn’t have them flapping in the trade winds right after he put them on.
Then, it’s time for Ray to say a few things. I don’t know how he does it. Off the cuff, he said that he wanted his guys to remember that today wasn’t about what we would get from this promotion. It was an oath to swear allegiance to something bigger and to be reminded of the responsibility he was taking on.
And like that. It was over. These things literally last all of 15 minutes. We took a few pictures with The Arizona’s flag unfurled behind us.
There just aren’t words to tell you about how proud I am of Ray and all he’s accomplished. He is loved and respected by so many sailors that work with him. I swell like a proud peacock every time I get to watch him do what he loves. I am however, no where near old enough to be a captain’s wife. So there’s that.
Ray has a pretty proud son too. He’s decided that the rank of Captain Stiff makes him a pirate. Proud day for that boy!
There has been lots of talk over the last couple of years about what the future holds next for our little family. Ray can’t decide what he wants to be when he grows up. This promotion gives us a bit of relief as the navy has decided to keep up around for a little while. We get to put off our decisions for a few more years. That’s just great for us because the navy is right where we want to be!