Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Rebranding is Working

I wore my new Army t-shirt on today's long run.  It's black with Army Athletics' new Athena shield logo and the word "Army" stenciled in big gold letters across the upper chest.  Not "Army West Point", just "Army".

The Athena Shield is Army Athletics' new logo.
I got saluted--twice!

Which is cool, right?  I mean, I've been out for almost sixteen years and have a full, bushy, mostly-white beard.  Okay, my shirt said "Army", but there was nothing there to indicate that I used to be an officer save for the Athena shield on my shirt, and even then, only if you recognize the shield, associate it with West Point, and understand that West Point graduates serve as Army officers after they graduate.


The rebranding is working.

The first guy who saluted was young, and he actually greeted me with "Garryowen, sir," which floored me.  That's the motto of the 7th Cavalry, the regimental affiliation for my last unit, 4-7 Cav in South Korea.  I was so shocked that I just stared at the guy--and smiled--and then ran on by.  I think I managed to stammer out, "Hey, how're you doing?" but I know it came out lame.  My man couldn't have caught further off guard if he'd pulled out a ten thousand dollar bill out of his wallet and tried to stuff in into my running shorts.

I live in Coastal Connecticut.  The place is not overrun with veterans, especially young ones.

The unprecedented second guy who saluted me was older--old enough to have served in the Korean War.  I don't know what branch he served in, or even if he was in the Army.  But like the first guy, he recognized the shirt, realized what it meant, and saluted.  It was crazy.

So.  I ran for exactly an hour, putting in 6.54 miles at about a 9:15 pace.  Mile one was a little faster, and mile three was a little slower, but overall, that's not too bad.  Granted, I got a boost at about the 1.5-mile mark and another at about the 2.5-mile mark, but still...  For very nearly 43, I'll take it.

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