A Pocket of Resistance: Officers’ Wives

This is in response to a post from my very good friend, Lisa Engle Lill. She is married to Master Sergeant Markus Lill, whom i also consider a good friend. They are stationed in Beaufort, South Carolina. Her post recalled a story i heard years ago:

In 1973, i learned from the wife of a neighbor in Fort Adams housing about an admiral’s visit to Guam. The neighbor was attending Naval War College while i was on the USS Luce (DLG 7) homeported in Newport and then in Destroyer School for the department head course. Fort Adams housing was for Naval officers and enlisted personnel.

At a neighborhood party, the neighbor related the story about when her husband was stationed in Guam and the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, a four-star admiral, had visited the island.

He asked to meet with all of the officers’ wives. The meeting was arranged, and the wives entered the large conference room at the officer’s club. They were instructed to sit from front to back by rank. My neighbor and several other wives of mid-grade officers, lieutenants and lieutenant commanders, were confused, and not knowing where to sit, stood in the back of the room while the wives of captains, commanders, and others jostled to get the seats according to their husband’s rank.

As this seat controversy rolled on, the admiral came to the podium. He said, “I want to applaud all of you ladies who remain in the back standing up. You are correct. You don’t have rank.” Now, everybody please sit down like civilized people so we can discuss some important matters for dependents.”

i sure wish she had a video of the faces of the wives who had jockeyed for position.

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