Every year the Marine Corps has a military ball for its units. It celebrates the birthday of the Marine Corps and usually happens around November every year. In the past, we’ve attended them in Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, NC, and Destin, FL. I was disappointed that Steve was deployed during last year’s Marine Corps Ball and we couldn’t attend. Now that he is a part of the EOD community, they have their very own ball during the EOD Memorial weekend, which takes place in Niceville, FL, home of the EOD Memorial and their joint service training center. (The same place we moved to for nine months a few years back). The memorial and ball just happened to take place during Steve’s post-deployment leave, giving us the perfect excuse/opportunity to hit the road for a mini-vacation to Florida!
As with any military ball, I made sure to get some nice pictures with the tripod beforehand. In our last ball pictures, I was seven months pregnant with Julia!
We attended the ball with our Navy EOD friends. This was my first ball that wasn’t strictly Marine Corps. Just when you think you get the uniform thing down, they throw in different ribbons and medals and a whole new rank structure. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully memorize what everything means on those uniforms. I just follow my rule of thumb – the more, the better. The more medals, the more rank, the more ribbons, etc. More means important-er. I can just see my husband shaking his head as he reads this. But how pretty is my friend Whitney?! They are still stationed down at Eglin Air Force Base, so our trip also meant I got to reunite with a very good friend! They’ve come to visit us at Camp Lejeune twice now, so it was about time we made the trek down to see them in Florida again.
The ball was held at the convention center on Okaloosa Island. We met up with our friends at their house, who also have a one ad two year old, and left their sitter with a mini-kid-zoo. I got a text not even an hour after we left that Julia was fast asleep (thank you, time change), and relaxed knowing they were in good hands. We threw the car seats in the back and car-pooled to the event, taking an obnoxious number of car selfies along the way.
And a few parking lot pictures too.
The boys were so cool they needed their sunglasses. Actually, they just both forgot to leave them in the car because apparently Oakley’s are like a third arm in the military and you never go anywhere without them.
We were unsure exactly how big the ball would be, but it was pretty darn big. And it was sold out, too. Glad we bought our tickets plenty early!
The keynote speaker for the evening was Oliver North. We were both pretty darn excited to hear him speak. He actually did a news segment covering the work Steve’s first infantry unit (2nd Battalion, 8th Marines) did in Marjah, Afghanistan in 2011. There was quite a line to meet him after the dinner was over, as you can imagine with his military audience.
We, along with a whole bunch of other EOD Technicians and their dates, made sure to get a picture with him.
The EOD Ball was the main event of our trip to Florida. We truly enjoyed our fancy evening away. I hope we find an opportunity to attend again in the coming year, amidst deployment, work, and training schedules. Next up on the blog – our little vacation to Florida (beach!!!) and the EOD Memorial. I’m trying to keep up the blog up with our crazy May calendar over here! And it’s not slowing down any time soon – this week we’ll be spending some time in DC running the National Police Week 5K and touring all the sites with Grandpa Brim! Three cheers for a three day weekend!