This little pin is one of my absolute favorite memories from the Navy. It lives in my travel bag and makes me smile every time!

It was homecoming, our first night back in San Diego off deployment. My buddy Dan and I had organized a swanky hotel room with a giant king size bed (Dan’s pretty much my brother from another mother), and we just wanted to re-Americanize!

We started at the Yard House with pretty much the fattiest dinner we could order…I’m pretty sure there were like three fried appetizers at the table. In addition to mains. For two people. We adored our far-too-handsome server, he was so cute! We were so excited to be chatting to an American civilian again! At the end of dinner (and dessert) he gave us his card, turned out he was a personal trainer as well. To this day we have no idea if he wanted to hang out with us or had concerns about our diets… Anyway we left him a huge tip (because waitering is the worst), and moved on.

We found a cool bar with live music and sat down for a few beers. We scored an awesome server there as well, Shelly. There was this group in their 40s or 50s, sitting close to the live music, and one woman was clearly having a blast, clapping and laughing. Dan and I were about to do a shot and we decided to buy her one as well. Shelly took a snickers shot over to her, and she came over to our table to say G’day! In a very cute Australian accent! And of course, I can’t remember her name but I remember her smiling face. She was so sweetly surprised that someone bought her a drink.

They were all in California on holiday. She did her first ever shot in her LIFE with us, and we felt completely honored. We talked about how much we enjoyed our Brisbane port visit, and how much she was enjoying California, and how much we were enjoying being home! We kept her away from her party for a long time, probably over an hour, just making new friends. When they were about to leave, she brought us over two of these little pins! “For new friends!” she said and it was gloriously cheesy and we hugged and laughed and absolutely loved it. 

It’s been cherished ever since, a keepsake from a randomly wonderful night that had nothing to do with boyfriends or flirting, just genuine joy!

I love the idea and I need to do it more often when traveling: just take a bunch of tiny knick-knacks that mean something to you, like dorky little pins or badges or keychains, to gift to people you meet overseas. I’ll never forget that gorgeous Australian woman!

African American Woman Who Was Navy Veteran Killed By Police Last September: Media Are Silent

India Kager was shot dead by police while she was sitting on the front seat next to her boyfriend Angelo Perry. Police officers were after Perry. 30 rounds were shot into the car. India Kager who was U.S. Navy veteran and a mother of two died on the scene. One of her babies was in the car and fortunately wasn’t hurt. India Kager was killed by police 100 days ago - media keep silence on the investigation of her death.

#Say Her Name

#Killed By Police

Kager’s story

“Heavy cruisers steaming in column formation: USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), USS Louisville (CA-28), USS Northampton (CA-26), USS Pensacola (CA-24), USS Chester (CA-27) and three light cruisers. USS Augusta (CA-31) in left distance. Taken from USS Chicago (CA-29).”

(NHHC: NH 672)