A Supreme Allied Commander retires, and looks back on his time spent in three uniforms.
In 1929, the brilliant British poet Robert Graves wrote an extraordinary memoir of his time in the British Army during the brutal trench warfare of the First World War entitled "Goodbye to All That."
After nearly four decades as an officer in the US Navy, I possess neither the literary gift nor the searing experiences to pen such a farewell. But if I were to sketch out my final thoughts on my time in the US Navy, they would revolve around three uniforms and a beach.
Navy Officers have three principal uniforms that tend to define the events in which we are engaged. The first is "Service Dress Whites," the classic white high-collar "choker" uniform with medals that Richard Gere made famous in the final scene of the 1980s film, "An Officer and a Gentleman."
The second is the double-breasted dark blue suit with gold stripes at the sleeves, black neck-tie, and ribbons, known in the Navy as "Service Dress Blues."
And the third is the day-to-day uniform that was worn on ships at sea during the vast majority of my career by the officer corps of the Navy, the classic short-sleeved "Working Khaki."
Over the past few days, as I conclude my long voyage of service, I have worn each of those uniforms for the final time.
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