Remember? That is one day I'll never forget.
There was a small contingent of us Internationals there - 40 or 50 of us stationing through. We were just happy the food was decent for once, you know? The whole Thanksgiving thing didn't really click for any of us. There was some major fuss on the food line, but we'd already got our food, so eat, laugh and joke with each other. 10 of us were sat at a table off to the side, then we hear this voice say "Mind if I join you?"
GWB. Sat down with his plate and started talking to us. He knew damned well we weren't American. We were never going to vote for him, since we couldn't. It didn't matter to him at all. He'd ask a question, then listen and give the convo a gentle poke from time to time while he ate. He didn't eat much - a very small plate load, but fair enough. He'd probably done it a dozen times already. He stood up, thanked us for being there and thanked us for sharing our stories. Shook everyone's hand and went to a table on the other side of the mess hall to talk.
Anyone wants to hassle him - they go through me first. Simple as that. For those few minutes he wasn't "the most powerful man in the world." He was a real CO. Sitting, listening and advising if needed. Met him a couple years later and he remembered that. Like I say - a real man and a real CO.
His guards must have been nervous as all get out though - our orders were to never be unarmed at any time and we were all carrying!