Xposted at LeftFace Blog.
We really did enjoy ourselves! does that sound "surprised"? yeah... we were... this is my third, my husband's second, and Snarky's first. Some of the speakers were amazing, the Best By Far - SSG Hatch (later Major Hatch) who was a camera man at the battle for Tarawa (which IS pronounced TAR - a - wah... the moderator needed to be corrected... which SSG Hatch did, with great kindness). When SSG Hatch spoke of one of the bloodiest days in the war - he called it, "a little rough".. he could really teach the present day testosterone cowboys, the gunga Dan's of this era, the ones Snarky calls "dickswingers"... one hell of a lesson. To be there and listen to the man who took this film, a film I have seen for years, actually narrating it, was such a fantastic moment.
The Charitable Landscape - Vivian from BSF and the rest of the panelists were great. Michael Yon - the quality of the sound was awful, and the OPSEC violations - well, lets just say Chief isn't terribly surprised that his imbed was canceled! Lunch - not TOO liquid, lots of fun, new friends but really, when you ask for no cheese - is it really that hard??? The panel that tried to keep us awake during the post luncheon hour - did a good job. The View from the Top. A full bird Marine, eclipsed by a 4 star Admiral (no Jamie McIntyre, it's NOT General) and the Principal Deputy Assistant SecDef for Public Affairs - all talking about social media from the top. One of the bloggers there - was wearing a T shirt from IVAW and got up to ask a question. Everyone on the dais tensed - and she asked a very good question about how to get the mid range officers to understand the benefits of Social Media... chins all hit the ground! As she said to me later, we aren't all screaming nutjobs. I think everyone was waiting, nay, hoping, that she would go ballistic. she never did, and I think many people were disappointed that she didn't so they could jump down her throat. Amazingly, I found out that a panelist from a major veterans group invited her, and while he thinks she is wrong in her views was saddened by the attitudes of some at the conference. I think she's a very brave woman, a brave veteran, to come to that conference and ask her questions.
The final panel on legislation - very dense! One of the panelists who had a passing resemblance to a favourite TV childrens host of a military marsupial nature, told us he thought Facebook and Twitter were, I quote "crap" - made quite an impression, lemme tell ya! We met up with him later - after a few adult beverages at PF Changs, and with the assistance of a few more libations, we spent a fun hour or so with him at dinner. He and Vivian spoke Public Policy jargon for a while... interspersed with snarky remarks about award winners, and ending with a lesson (by another friend) and a pictorial (drawing, folks) of the mechanics of "teabagging"... yeah, you had to be there.
All in all, a good time was had by all. So - next year - y'all coming? Hope so!