Tired of standing in a crowded Washington bar, my friends and I spied some open seats at a table already in use by a couple eating dinner. We joined them, and moments later the Corps’ future commandant bought me a whiskey.
The long version goes like this:
Back in February, I was just digging into my new role as Marine Corps Times’ news editor, so I did not immediately recognize Gen. Jim Amos, who was out of uniform and with his wife, Bonnie. My friends and I asked the couple if we could share their table space, and they were happy to oblige.
Striking up conversation, Amos asked what I was doing in Washington. I explained my job to him, and he smiled.
“I’m the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps,” he said.
My eyes practically popped out of my skull. Sure, the place was across the street from Marine Barracks at 8th & I, but I had no reason to think I’d stumble into a seat next to one of the Corps’ top leaders.
I said, “Sir, nice to meet you!” and shook his hand. Our group’s ensuing discussion touched on life in D.C., marriage (I tied the knot in May; the Amoses have been married 39 years) and, of all things, memories of New Orleans.
Though he abstained, the general was kind enough to buy a round for the table, and that’s how the CMC-to-be bought me a glass of Wild Turkey.