Relaxing at the local watering-hole while on liberty is what every Sailor looks forward to, but pitching in where help is needed yields greater rewards, lasting memories-and better leaders.
My first "port call" in the Navy came at the end of plebe summer, at a Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards. Freshly shaven and wearing my pristine summer-white uniform, which I had meticulously ironed, shined, and polished, I was ready to carry out my duty as "the face of the Navy." Before my company mates and I were allowed to exit our bus and march to our seats in the left-field bleachers, our detailers rattled off a list of thou-shalt-not's that we were ordered to obey. Don't wander out of the assigned seating area. Don't address any civilian without addressing them as "sir" or "ma'am." Don't spill anything on your uniform. Basically, we were on a mission to watch a baseball game, eat hot dogs, and not tarnish the Naval Academy's 160-year-old reputation. Midway through the game some friends and I went to get food from the concession stand. As we stood in a gaggle, a civilian girl approached and told us that we looked good in our uniforms. This was the moment I had been waiting for: validation from the opposite sex that summer whites really were all they were cracked up to be. Obeying the brief on the bus, I replied, "Thank you, ma'am."