On Being A Man At Arms

American Embassy Dublin, Ireland 1998.

 During my years as an embassy guard, I tended to carry myself with the confidence of a snow plow (some would argue not much has changed). Of course, being armed with a .357, pepper spray, hand cuffs, monadnock baton, and a great big shot gun lent itself to a certain aplomb. 

Firearms in Ireland were pretty much relegated to police and military at the time and something most Irish citizens only saw on TV.

One afternoon I was relieved of my duties on post and was headed to our react room to down load my weapons and change over into civvies. I entered an elevator occupied by a local national employee going about her business. In my peripheral vision I noticed the poor woman visibly shrinking into the corner of the elevator. No doubt she had never been in such close proximity to someone as heavily armed as I was.

With shotgun resting on my hip, I turned slightly toward her and announced in my best heroic tone: “Don’t worry ma’am, I’m a professional.”

We spent the rest of the elevator ride in silence.

Winning hearts and minds, that’s me.

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj

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