Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chief's Ball, 2010 and trouble down the street

The Navy loves any and all reasons to dress up and enjoy a few libations. Last night was the Chief's Ball, which Zac and I attended for the first time. The Chief's Ball is not to be confused with the Khaki Ball (which we have attended three times). The Khaki Ball is held in September, after the chief induction season, to celebrate the new chiefs. The guys wear their, get this, khakis to the Khaki Ball. It's semi-formal attire for their dates. The Chief's Ball, instead, is held at the beginning of April, celebrating the day that the rank of Chief Petty Officer was created. (April 1 - no fooling. Ha!) Chiefs consider this their "birthday". This year the rank turned 117 years old. At this party the chiefs wear their summer whites and spouses/dates are, once again, charged with wearing semi-formal garb.

There is also a Navy Ball held in October celebrating the birthday of the Navy. I believe the guys wear their dress whites to that one, and spouses and dates get to mix it up a bit wearing formal wear. Zac and I haven't been to a Navy Ball yet, simply because it comes so close after the Khaki Ball. Tickets are approximately $40-60 a piece and paying for two events in two months is a lot of money. Maybe we'll go this year - I'd like the chance to do over-the-top formal.

We drove down to Wakiki to the hotel that was the site of the ball. We checked in, got our souvenir and had our photo taken. I might have to get a photo album devoted to the 5x7 Ball photos we're starting to accumulate. Anyone flipping through said album will start to notice I'm wearing the same two or three semi-formal dresses over and over again. (The benefit of changing locations every couple of years is that no one notices you recycling dresses.)

Our usual group of friends didn't attend the Ball so we sat and socialized with four other guys that work at ATG with Zac (and their wives). I missed my hanging out with my friends, but it was nice to meet some new people and socialize with their wives. After a cocktail hour we had some good food for supper, a Command Master Chief gave a brief speech about the history of the chiefs, and then the DJ started playing some tunes. We stuck around to see if we won any door prizes, but we came up empty handed. Around ten o'clock things were wrapping up. Many people were staying at the hotel that night, but Zac was on duty so we had to head back to his command so he could check on things. (Duty also meant that Zac was not able to imbibe like some of the other chiefs in the room. Someone needs to be sober in case something bad happens.)

So far the night had been pretty relaxing, but that was about to change. As we turned onto our street coming home, we noticed a group of younger 20-something aged guys out in front of a house. They seemed to be drinking and talking loudly. Not a big deal. It was a Saturday night. Everyone on our block has had parties at some point. When we parked our car in the driveway and walked into the house, we could hear that they weren't just talking loudly but were shouting, angrily, at each other. Zac and I went into the house where I changed out of my dress and heals but Zac still had his uniform on, standing by our bedroom window listening to the argument outside. I asked him, "Should we call the cops?" Zac considered it. We listened a little longer and Zac announced he was going to go talk to them.

As Zac headed downstairs and out the door, I started to get a little nervous. Drinking and hostility do not combine well and Zac was walking, alone, into a group of 8 or 9 guys. I grabbed the phone and watched him walk down the street. I was really glad he still had his uniform on. I figured that even if they weren't Navy guys, they'd recognize a senior rank on him and maybe even give him a little respect. Zac came back in a couple of minutes and informed me that he told the guys that they needed to quite down, otherwise someone was going to end up calling the cops on them. He suggested they all calm down and head inside.

We headed back in to our house and everything was quiet for a few minutes. And then the yelling started again, except that this time there were a couple of females shrieking/screaming/yelling too. One guy was yelling, "That's my *%^$#@!!* wife!" There was an assortment of cursing and yelling and then it sounded like someone got slapped. I picked up the phone and dialed 911. The dispatcher answered and as soon as I related the location of the disturbance she let me know that someone had already called it in and a squad car was on its way over. Sure enough, two squads arrived quickly. At this point Zac mentioned that one of the guys had told Zac that one of the other guys had pulled a knife on him. I blasted Zac for not mentioning that to me earlier. Zac said he was worried that I would have freaked out about his safety after the fact. I told him that I was more upset that I didn't have that information to tell the dispatcher when I called.

The cops must have done their job, since we didn't hear a peep from down the street for the rest of the night. I don't know if anyone got arrested - I wasn't interesting in being that nosy. I was just glad that it was all over. We didn't want anyone to get hurt.

Since it was now quiet in the neighborhood, we figured we had had enough excitement for the night and went to bed. Hopefully we won't have to deal with a situation like that again. It was a crummy way to end an otherwise enjoyable evening.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I don't recall hearing about Zac pulling duty. In the olden days, I used to get SDNCO (Staff Duty NCO, or senior enlisted man awake, reporting to the SDO (officer)) every two weeks or so. Small number of NCOs, and of course the most senior NCOs exempted themselves from the onerous need to stay on-post and awake all night.