I attended the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland during the Vietnam War. As with all young and ambitious men, and now young and ambitious women, we competed to achieve the highest ranks within the Brigade of Midshipmen. These ranks ranged from Captain or six stripper to Squad Leaders with one stripe. Often there were just not enough positions or billets for all of the senior or first-class midshipmen. Or worse, one’s leadership skills were deemed to be so weak that one was only a senior or first class midshipmen without rank and attendant authority. Such an upperclassman was much like the underclassmen in terms of military status except that no one yelled at him or required that he manage others to be responsible for the behavior of others, i.e. grades, conduct, shine on their shoes. Such a first class midshipman was referred to as a Man in Ranks or MIR. Curious to me was that from this vantage point, one could see it all without being directly involved. Kind of an omnisicient narrator. This rank suited me.
Pilot Mountain represents my wife’s home town in North Carolina and reminds me of the beauty of our state. I enjoy visiting with her family as they offer frequently clear, honest and generous opinions and observations of life in their United States of America.