Saluting Captain Monroe (PG-13)

I was in the twilight tour of my Navy career, having put in my papers for retirement and I was months away from being piped over the side. My final tour was with Staff, Naval War College, Newport RI.

I spent my time assisting the Admiral with his various panels, conferences, symposiums and other events. My job was to make sure the computers, AV equipment, overheads, sound systems and other equipment were working properly for the various proceedings and to help set up for the presentations. The latest dog and pony show was a panel on leadership in the modern political military with representatives from the four branches serving on the panel.

I was making up the name cards for the participants when I saw the name Captain Lucille Monroe, United States Coast Guard listed as one of the participants. It made me think of Lucy Monroe, a kid I knew back in Hillsboro way back when. She had moved away after eighth grade and I never knew what became of her but I highly doubted Lucy would have made it to Captain in the Coast Guard after the life she lived when I knew her.

I dug out Captain Monroe's biography to see if there were any hints that would rule her out as the Lucy Monroe I once knew.

Captain Monroe is a native of Cleveland Ohio and is a 1994 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Engineering. Upon graduation and commissioning, she served two years as a Deck Watch Officer, Navigator and Operations Officer on a Seagoing Buoy Tender home ported in Great Lakes, Illinois.

In 1998 Captain Monroe was assigned to the Office of Navigation at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC as the Operational Facility Manager for the Coast Guard's Seagoing Buoy Tenders as well as the program liaison with the National Aids to Navigation School. While assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters, she also completed a Masters Degree in Engineering Management from George Washington University in Washington DC.

In 2002, Captain Monroe was assigned to US Coast Guard Cutter DOYLE (WLB 309), an Alaska based seagoing buoy tender as the Executive Officer, Navigator and Personnel Officer. In 2006, Captain Monroe received orders as Commanding Officer of US Coast Guard Cutter STURGEON BAY (WTGB 109) in New York City. While on STURGEON BAY, she was responsible for facilitating shipping on the Hudson River and conducting recreational boating safety and fisheries law enforcement along the New England coast.

In 2009 Captain Monroe was assigned as an instructor of Nautical Science at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut and in 2011 she assumed the duties of the Assistant School Chief and instructor at the Command and Operations School at the Leadership and Development Center.

Captain Monroe's decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, four Commendation Medals, two Achievement Medals, the Commandant's Letter of Commendation, and Unit and Team Commendations.

A native of Cleveland Ohio? I guess that meant she couldn't be the Lucy Monroe I knew.

I hadn't thought about Lucy Monroe in years until I was reminded of her when I saw Captain Lucille Monroe's name. I wondered what happened to the Lucy I knew after she moved away all those years ago.
Lucy's story was one of the saddest ones I'd ever known. She was a waif of a kid who lived in a dumpy old house at the end of the street. My mother wouldn't let me go near there but she was okay with Lucy coming to our house knowing that the kid was probably better off with us anyway.

Many mistook Lucy's parents as her grandparents when they saw them because they were much older than the other parents. Lucy was obviously a surprise baby. Her father was a mean looking drunk even though he was short and wiry. Her mother was much larger in her physical presence and she was considered crazy by most. I remember her yelling a lot and I was scared to go anywhere near the Monroe place.

Ironically, Lucy was a quiet, mousy kid who didn't smile much. I'm not even sure why we hung out together except that she always seemed to be around. We were the same age and we went to the same school so I guess it just sort of worked out that we would get to know each other.

Some of my friends gave me a hard time for being friends with "the retard" and "The weirdo" but I didn't think such things about Lucy. I saw her as a scared and sad kid and it wouldn't kill me to be friendly toward her. That was the message my parents gave me and because they were willing to have her in our yard and even inside our house I didn't see anything wrong with it either.

There were times when Lucy would have bruises on her. I never asked about it but I was pretty sure that she was smacked around by one (or both) of her parents. Looking back on it now, I'm pretty sure that Lucy was being sexually assaulted or at least exposed to inappropriate sexual conduct too because she was overtly sexualized at a young age herself.

I didn't know any of that sexual stuff then, of course, or what reason there might be behind her behaviors, but years later when I saw the movie 'Forrest Gump' the character of Jenny made me think of Lucy for some reason.

It was Lucy who would drag me into the bushes behind the McDaniel's house and pull down her pants, showing me her naked fanny and wanting to see mine too. I was too afraid to say no so we would do it often.

Lucy and I had our own little routines, whether it was riding our bikes around the neighborhood, playing on the swings at the school park, or taking walks on the path along the Blue River. One time, when we were around nine or ten, we were on the river path walking like we always did. We didn't always talk much but I think Lucy liked the company and the safety and comfortableness of being with me. She said she had to go to the bathroom and I gestured toward a tree, telling her that she could go behind it.

"That's okay," she replied and all of a sudden she dropped her drawers and squatted and peed a river right in front of me.

What stunned me the most was that I didn't look away. I just stood there watching the tinkle coming out of her with a mixture of shock and fascination. I had never seen a girl's privates before and I definitely never saw a girl going to the bathroom before.

I watched the dirt path turn to mud under her and she didn't say anything as she stood and pulled her shorts and panties back up. We continued walking as if nothing unusual and taken place. I never said a word about it.

Lucy was smart. She didn't talk in class unless she was called upon but she always knew the answer and she got good grades. Sometimes she would help me with my homework when I was having a hard time and I was grateful for her assistance.

I didn't hang out with Lucy when the guys were around and she sort of understood and accepted that. She would leave as soon as one of them appeared in my yard and I felt bad about that but it was just the way it was. They didn't want anything to do with her and I sensed that she didn't want anything to do with them either.

Lucy had a few girl friends at school – other ostracized or ignored girls who were either fat or ugly or anti-social or were accused of having 'coo-dees' and they would hang out, eating together in the lunch room and standing around together before school and at recess.

I rarely spoke to Lucy when we were at school but if we had to team up for a class project or something and Lucy didn't have a partner, I usually volunteered to be with her. I would hear the laughter and snickers but I didn't care.

We moved on from elementary school to middle school and the stakes were suddenly higher there. There were more kids, more peer pressure, more expectations, more social standing, and less opportunities (or reasons) for Lucy and me to hang out together. She was in all the smart classes (I wasn't that smart) and I was getting involved in sports which kept me busy and gave me a new clique to associate with.

Lucy still came over to the house and we still had our routines but it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to be seen in Lucy's company given my new reputation as a popular jock.

Early in seventh grade, Lucy's mother "went away". One day about four cop cars showed up at the Monroe house and there was some sort of altercation or scene. I could hear the screaming and yelling all the way from my house which was at least eight houses away and Mrs. Monroe was eventually taken out of the house on a stretcher, bound down and screaming like a wild lunatic.

There were all sorts of neighborhood rumors and gossip claiming that Mrs. Monroe had gone crazy and tried to kill herself, her husband, Lucy, the cat, or that she tried to burn the house down, or that she had tried to murder the mail man, or that she had kidnapped some kid in the neighborhood.

I never got the straight skinny. I wasn't about to ask Lucy and my mother told me to mind my own business and to respect the Monroe's privacy. Lucy missed about a week of school and when she returned she acted as if nothing had happened but she looked even sadder and lonelier than ever and of course she was picked on and ridiculed all the more.

I started liking pretty Beverly Jordon but she liked my pal Robbie McIntosh so I had to admire her from afar although we were friendly and I hung out with her and Robbie. Lucy was one of those kids who stayed in the shadows. I'd see her in the library or in the auditorium study hall and although she was on the honor roll and doing well academically she wasn't socially involved in any of the school clubs, councils, or extracurricular activities.

Lucy and her other socially unacceptable (i.e. "loser") friends ate lunch together and I felt conflicted and pained about trying to figure out where my loyalties should lie. I felt like I owed Lucy my ongoing friendship and support but we really didn't have much in common. Still, she continued coming over to my house and helping me with my homework and playing computer games with me and watching television. My mother treated her as though she was my girlfriend or a member of the family but I tried to ignore that part of it.

There were a few other weird sexual incidents that made me feel uncomfortable but I never spoke about any of it to anybody. One time I went into the bathroom to take a leak and Lucy followed me, telling me she wanted to watch which I thought was strange but I let her even though it felt kind of vulgar.

Another time I was standing at the refrigerator looking for something to eat when Lucy came up behind me and pulled my shorts down to my ankles. I was only wearing a jock strap underneath so she saw my naked rear which she slapped.

These incidents didn't feel sexy to me. They felt strange and it made me wonder why Lucy was acting so strange. I know we were sexually curious when we were younger and going into the bushes to look at each other but we were older now and this sort of stuff felt immature, bizarre and slightly perverted instead of a turn on, mostly because it was awkward instead of sensual. It felt forced, unnatural and just not right.

One day Lucy was over helping me with some homework. She excused herself to use the bathroom and when she returned she was stark naked. We were only thirteen and it felt pretty weird even though hers were the first tits and privates I had seen. Now she had hair down there (unlike the times in the bushes and on the path) but I was still embarrassed to see her like that.

"What are you doing?" I asked nervously.

"I just thought you'd want to see," she replied.

"Why?" I wondered.

She shrugged. "Because I know none of the other girls would show you."

Well, that was definitely true with Beverly Jordon I had to admit.

Lucy sat on the end of the bed next to me and we continued with our homework as if nothing was out of the ordinary and when it got closer to the time my mother was due home from work, Lucy got off the bed and went back to the bathroom to retrieve her clothes.

I was beginning to worry about my friendship with Lucy. I wasn't ready for this sort of stuff and I wasn't attracted to her in a sexual way at our age so her weird sexual behavior made me feel awkward and nervous around her. I was afraid she was going to try something even more inappropriate and it wasn't something I wanted at that point in my life.

My parents were even nicer to Lucy now that her mother was out of the picture and my mother invited Lucy to stay for dinner more often. I couldn't really come out and tell my mother about some of the weird stuff Lucy had done, mostly because I was too embarrassed and because I didn't want my mother to think Lucy was messed up in the head.

Hanging out with Lucy was also starting to become more awkward for me because I was doing my own thing which really didn't include Lucy outside of our routine but I knew that my mother wasn't about to allow me to dump out on Lucy and that she would continue inviting Lucy to our house.

I'm ashamed to admit it but I becoming embarrassed being associated or seen with Lucy in public. I didn't mind her coming over to the house where nobody could see us but if my mother piled us in the car and took us somewhere I wanted to die. We used to ride our bikes to Red's Tastee Freeze for a cone or to Johnny C's Diner for a shake but now I was finding excuses not be doing that sort of stuff anymore, claiming I was getting too old and cool to be been riding a three-speed sting ray bike with a banana seat. Not to mention that Lucy had been riding a piece of shit old lady's bike for years.

I wondered if Lucy was clumsily and gawkily trying to come on to me in her own inept way in an effort to strengthen or secure our friendship. It wasn't as if Lucy was ugly but she was plain looking with shagging black hair that looked unkempt for some reason. She didn't wear make up and her clothes were K-Mart and Walmart and Salvation Army stuff so she wasn't going to win any fashion awards.

I guess it was her demeanor and behaviors that made me feel uncomfortable. She never smiled, she was morose, she was sad and moody, and I was never able to get her to show any real signs of life or interest about anything other than school work which she loved. She was an avid reader and every time I saw her she had a book in front of her face, even when she was over at my house.

That was fine but I wasn't exactly a book connoisseur so we weren't going to be talking about the Book of the Month Selection or anything. Lucy didn't like sports much and although she went to a few of my games she didn't understand the rules or care about the results. It was no big deal to her if we lost while I was ready to jump off a bridge. And while she was happy for me when we won, she didn't share in my enthusiasm or excitement. She found sports boring and so there was nothing to talk about there either.

There was always this weight of secrecy between us. She never talked about her home life or family and occasionally I would see a new bruise or welt so I knew something bad was still going on at home. But I was in denial because I didn't want to know. And all the 'sick' stuff we did together starting in the bushes all those years ago and leading up to the most recent awkward situations was never discussed either. I wasn't about to tell my guy friends that Lucy pranced around naked in front of me and I doubt she told anybody either.

Sometimes I just wish Lucy would go away but then I would feel guilty about being so heartless. We had the history of our friendship but the friendship itself didn't seem to be going anywhere but my mother kept inviting Lucy to join us on various day trips and other activities and I was starting to resent both of them for forcing me to be involved.

I didn't want to be doing that sort of stuff with my mother anymore. I didn't want to go to the Sun Rise Lake Public Beach with Lucy and my mother. I wanted to go to the Blue County Fair alone with my friends and not with my mother and Lucy. A new tension was beginning to form between me and my mother and I was beginning to resent Lucy all the more because my mother kept going out of her way to include Lucy in our plans and family life.

Things kind of came to a head as the end of eighth grade approached. There was the Eight Grade Social (a semi-formal mini-prom type dance) and my mother wanted me to take Lucy to it.

I was embarrassed by the thought, of course, fearing it would damage my image and reputation bringing a girl like her to the year's biggest event. But I didn't have a date of my own and I really had no excuse to say no.

The thing was I don't think Lucy was all that keen on going either. She wasn't exactly socially graceful and going to a dance wasn't her idea of a good time but I got the sense that she didn't to disappoint my mother and that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all.

And then I did the worse thing I ever did in my life. Beverly and Robbie had broken up and Beverly asked me if I was interested in going to the Social with her. Beverly Jordon was one of the most popular and prettiest girls in the school and I had been crushing on her for two years so naturally I was thrilled and I immediately said yes.

This change of circumstances caused an immediate conflict and dilemma, of course. I'll never forget the look on Lucy's face when I stopped her in the hall two weeks before the Social and told her I couldn't take her. It was a look of betrayal.

I was no different than all the other assholes that treated her like shit and couldn't be bothered with her. I was just another jerk guy more concerned with his own image and his own interests than I was in somebody else's feelings. I had put my own self-interests ahead of my friendship with Lucy.

My mother went ballistic when she heard the news and she did everything in her power to try to get me to change my mind. I know I had disappointed and shamed her but I didn't care. I was going to the Social with the beautiful Beverly Jordon and nobody was stopping me. When all of my mother's reasoning, pleading, begging and guilt trips failed to work, she gave me the silent treatment and she refused to help me get ready for the dance or support me in anyway.

On the night of the dance, my parents went out to dinner early, refusing to have anything to do with me. (I later found out that they took Lucy to a four star restaurant).

Naturally, I felt like crap going to the Social even if it was with my dream girl Beverly who looked absolutely gorgeous in a fancy dress but it turns out she really didn't like me and she spent most of the night flaunting herself in front of Robbie trying to get him jealous and by the time the night was over they were back together and I was all the more miserable. But I had gotten what I deserved, my mother would later tell me.

There wasn't much I could say to Lucy. I had backstabbed her and irrevocably ruined our friendship, violating her trust and breaking her heart and I didn't blame her when she stopped coming over to the house and avoided me around school. My mother would still do things with her which only made it all the more awkward for me.

During the last week of eighth grade, Lucy's father died of a massive heart attack. I didn't know what to say or do and while my parents were very supportive and Lucy stayed at our house for a few days I was at a lost. I felt guilt, shame, sorrow and sadness but I knew I wasn't worthy of Lucy's forgiveness and that it would be pathetic to try to rekindle our friendship just because her father died.

Lucy was pretty much a basket case and we barely talked and then all of a sudden she was gone. She had moved away to live with an aunt somewhere and I was left behind with all my culpability, remorse, dishonor, and infamy. I don't think my mother ever quite forgave me for my duplicity when it came to Lucy Monroe even though we never talked about her after she vanished from our lives. But I never got over the regret I felt.

###

The 'Leadership in the Modern Political Navy' symposium was scheduled for Thursday and Friday and I was there bright and early at the Perry Lecture Hall on Thursday morning to assist as needed.

I watched as the Admiral came into the room with the four representatives serving on the panel. Major Timothy J. Caron from the U.S. Army, Captain Janet R. Levessaur from the U.S. Air Force, Captain Robert L. Butler from the U.S. Navy, and Captain Lucille H. Monroe from the U.S. Coast Guard.

All four were in their working white uniforms – Captain Monroe in a white skirt and shirt with shoulder boards and ribbons. I was wearing my Khaki working uniform with Chief anchors on my collar. I peered at Captain Monroe from my station on the corner of the lecture stage trying to figure out if there was any resemblance to the Lucy Monroe I once knew. Of course, Lucy had been fourteen the last time I saw her some twenty-five years ago so there wasn't a whole lot to go on.

Captain Monroe was about 5'5' (Lucy was about 5'2" but she could have sprouted) and about 110 pounds (Lucy was maybe 80 at 14). Captain Monroe was definitely bulker with muscle tone whereas young Lucy was a twig that might snap which was probably why she bruised so easily.

Captain Monroe's hair was dark blonde with highlights, cut even to her collar, a completely different look from Lucy's frizzy unkempt black hair but women changed their hairstyles and colors all the time. I had no idea if there could be any connection.

"Chief Palmer!" Lieutenant Hall called.

Lieutenant Hall was the Admiral's Aide (some would say flunky) and I walked across the stage to welcome him and the guests.

"Folks, this is Chief Palmer, our Communications Specialist," Lieutenant Hall introduced me. "You need anything during the symposium, he's the guy to see."

I nodded my acknowledgement and shot Captain Monroe an extra glance to see if there was any reaction or recognition in her eyes or from the expression on her face but she didn't seem to react one way or the other as she chatted with Captain Butler, not paying much attention to me.

I showed the guests to their seats at the panel on the stage and briefly showed them how the microphones and lap top computers worked before about sixty War College students entered the room and took their seats in the auditorium.

Admiral Barkley arrived and made his introductions and then turned the proceedings over to Professor Daniels, Professor of Political Science, who was moderating the event.

I spent most of my time seated in the corner of the stage listening to the discussions, presentations, debates and conversations being offered. I had to admit that Captain Monroe came across as an intelligent, talented, sound, well studied, well informed, realistic and grounded Officer who presented her arguments, comments, and rebuttals in a fair, accurate, reasoned, and polite yet firm manner.

She told the story about bringing sexual harassment charges against two of her superior officers when she was a junior officer and how she put her career on the line to fight for justice and fairness in an often politicized environment. She won her case and was able to advance to Captain when many thought her career would forever be tarnished and her ability to promote ruined.

The panel went to lunch together and I went to my office and grabbed a sandwich from the mini frig behind my desk.

The afternoon session went well and when Professor Daniels concluded the event at the end of the day and the room cleared, I tidied up and got things ready for the following day.

I wasn't paying much attention to what was going on around me. I had dimmed the lights in the auditorium and I didn't notice that a person was seated in the far upper corner, apparently watching me as I worked.

"Chief Palmer?"

I heard a woman's voice and glanced up to see Captain Monroe seated in the auditorium.

"Yes, Captain?" I responded, wondering if she wanted some sort of technical assistance.

She slid out of her seat and walked down the risers toward me. I squinted at her in the shadows.

"Do you remember me, Billy?" She asked.

"Yes, of course I remember you," I said, knowing she had just confirmed that she was indeed the Lucy Monroe I once knew. "I just can't believe it's really you."

She smiled. "Small world, huh?"

She arrived on the foot of the stage and peered at me as I stepped closer to her.

"Long time no see," I joked.

"So, Navy huh?" She smiled.

"Right out of high school," I confirmed.

"Good for you," she said with a nod of her head. "You've done well for yourself."

"You too," I said, greatly impressed by her achievements.

She subtly glanced at my hand and I lifted my left arm up and showed her my naked ring finger.

"Divorced," I explained.

"I'm sorry," she replied.

"It's okay," I assured her. "The Navy can do that to a marriage."

I tried to examine her hand and she laughed, holding up both her hands to reveal a Coast Guard Academy class ring on one hand and a simple cosmetic ring on the other, but no wedding band.

"I'm married to the Guard," she joked.

I nodded with understanding. "Where are you staying?" I asked. "Navy Lodge? BOQ?"

"The Admiral insisted on putting us up at the BOQ," she replied. "Lovely view of the bay."

"Yes."

"You on base?"

"No, I rent a small house in Portsmouth," I replied. "On the water. It's a Navy buddy's but he's stationed in Norfolk right now."

"Sounds like a good deal," she said.

"Do you have any plans?" I asked. "I know it's not exactly appropriate with me being Enlisted and you an Officer but I could show you around the Island if you wanted."

"Why'd you think I hung back?" She asked. "The rest of the panel is over at the Officer's Club."

I swallowed, feeling nervous all of a sudden. I was well aware of the fraternization policy but how could I not spend some time with my childhood friend of yesteryear who I hadn't seen in a lifetime?

The Navy's policies on fraternization are contained in OPNAV Instruction 5370.2B, Navy Fraternization Policy.

Policy. Personal relationships between officer and enlisted members that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in rank and grade are prohibited, and violate long-standing custom and tradition of the naval service. Similar relationships that are unduly familiar between officers or between enlisted members of different rank or grade may also be prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit on the naval service and are prohibited. Commands are expected to take administrative and disciplinary action as necessary to correct such inappropriate behavior. The policies listed here are lawful general orders. Violation of these policies subject the involved members to disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Background/Discussion. Navy has historically relied upon custom and tradition to define the bounds of acceptable personal relationships among its members. Proper social interaction among officer and enlisted members has always been encouraged as it enhances unit morale and esprit de corps. At the same time, unduly familiar personal relationships between officers and enlisted members have traditionally been contrary to naval custom because they undermine the respect for authority, which is essential to Navy's ability to accomplish its military mission. Over 200 years of seagoing experience have demonstrated that seniors must maintain thoroughly professional relationships with juniors at all times. This custom recognizes the need to prevent use of a senior grade or position in such a way that it results in (or gives the appearance of) favoritism, preferential treatment, personal gain, or involves actions that otherwise may reasonably be expected to undermine good order, discipline, authority, or high unit morale. In like manner, custom requires that junior personnel recognize and respect the authority inherent in a senior's grade, rank, or position. This recognition of authority is evidenced by observance and enforcement of the military courtesies and customs that have traditionally defined proper senior-subordinate relationships.

"Fraternization" is the term traditionally used to identify personal relationships that contravene the customary bounds of acceptable senior-subordinate relationships. Although it has most commonly been applied to officer-enlisted relationships, fraternization also includes improper relationships and social interaction between officer members as well as between enlisted members.

Historically, and as used here, fraternization is a gender-neutral concept. Its focus is on the detriment to good order and discipline resulting from the erosion of respect for authority inherent in an unduly familiar senior-subordinate relationship, not the sex of the members involved. In this sense, fraternization is a uniquely military concept, although abuse of a senior's position for personal gain and actual or perceived preferential treatment are leadership and management problems that also arise in civilian organizations. In the context of military life, the potential erosion of respect for the authority and leadership position of a senior in grade or rank can have an enormously negative effect on good order and discipline and seriously undermine a unit's effectiveness. Therefore, prohibition of fraternization serves a valid, mission essential purpose.

Prohibited Relationships:

a. Personal relationships between officer and enlisted members that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in grade or rank are prohibited. Such relationships are prejudicial to good order and discipline and violate long-standing traditions of the Naval service.

b. Personal relationships between chief petty officers (E-7 to E-9) and junior personnel (E-l to E-6), who are assigned to the same command, that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in grade or rank are prohibited. Likewise, personal relationships that are unduly familiar between staff/instructor and student personnel within Navy training commands, and between recruiters and recruits/applicants that do not respect differences in grade, rank, or the staff/student relationship are prohibited. Such relationships are prejudicial to good order and discipline, and violate long-standing traditions of the Naval service.

c. When prejudicial to good order or of a nature to bring discredit on the Naval service, personal relationships between officer members or between enlisted members that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in grade or rank are prohibited. Prejudice to good order and discipline or discredit to the Naval service may result from, but are not limited to, circumstances which:

(1) call into question a senior's objectivity;

(2) result in actual or apparent preferential treatment;

(3) undermine the authority of a senior; or

(4) compromise the chain of command.

Discussion. Fraternization, as defined above, is prohibited and punishable as an offense under the UCMJ. It is impossible to set forth every act that may be prejudicial to good order and discipline or that is service discrediting because the surrounding circumstances often determine whether the conduct in question is inappropriate. Proper social interaction and appropriate personal relationships are an important part of unit morale and esprit de corps. Officer and enlisted participation on command sports teams and other command-sponsored events intended to build unit morale and camaraderie are healthy and clearly appropriate. Dating, shared living accommodations, intimate or sexual relations, commercial solicitations, private business partnerships, gambling and borrowing money between officers and enlisted members, regardless of Service, are unduly familiar and are prohibited. Likewise, such conduct between officer members and between enlisted members of different rank or grade would be unduly familiar and constitute fraternization if the conduct is prejudicial to good order and discipline or is Service discrediting.

Prejudice to good order and discipline and discredit to the Naval service may occur when the degree of familiarity between a senior and a junior in grade or rank is such that the senior's objectivity is called into question. This loss of objectivity by the senior may result in actual or apparent preferential treatment of the junior, and use of the senior's position for the private gain of either the senior or junior member. The actual or apparent loss of objectivity by a senior may result in the perception the senior is no longer capable or willing to exercise fairness and make judgments on the basis of merit.

Unduly familiar relationships may exist with individuals outside one's direct chain of command. By long-standing custom and tradition, chief petty officers (E-7 to E-9) are separate and distinct leaders within their assigned command. Chief petty officers provide leadership not just within their direct chain of command, but for the entire unit. The prohibitions listed in this policy are based on this unique leadership responsibility. While the existence of a direct senior-subordinate supervisory relationship is not a prerequisite for a relationship between juniors and seniors to constitute fraternization, the fact that individuals are in the same chain of command increases the likelihood that an unduly familiar relationship between senior and junior officers, or between senior and junior enlisted members will result in prejudice to good order and discipline or discredit to the naval service.

Conduct, which constitutes fraternization, is not excused or mitigated by a subsequent marriage between the offending parties.

Service members who are married or otherwise related (father/son, etc.) to other service members, must maintain the requisite respect and decorum attending the official relationship while either is on duty or in uniform in public.

Compatible with sea/shore rotation policy and the needs of the service, service members married to each other will not be assigned in the same chain of command.

Seniors throughout the chain of command will:

(1) Be especially attentive to their personal associations such that their actions and the actions of their subordinates are supportive of the military chain of command and good order and discipline. Since circumstances are important in determining whether personal relationships constitute fraternization, seniors must provide guidance on appropriate relationships that build unit cohesion and morale.

(2) Ensure that all members of the command are aware of the policies set forth here.

(3) Address the offending conduct by taking appropriate action, to include counseling, issuing letters of instruction, comments on fitness reports or performance evaluations, reassignment, and/or, if necessary, by taking appropriate disciplinary steps.

The responsibility for preventing inappropriate relationships must rest primarily on the senior. While the senior party is expected to control and preclude the development of inappropriate relationships, this policy is applicable to both members and both are accountable for their own conduct.

"I should probably get out of uniform," Captain Monroe informed me.

"Do you have a car?"

"Rental," she confirmed.

"Why don't I meet you at the VFW in about an hour?" I suggested. 'It's right outside Gate 4 on Underwood Lane."

"Sounds good," she agreed. "I'll see you there."

I watched as the Captain left the auditorium and I wondered if I was risking my impending retirement by hanging out with the Captain after hours in a social situation.

When I was done setting up for the following day, I returned to my office where I kept a change of (civilian) clothes and I got out of uniform, wearing jeans, sneakers and a red polo shirt as I left the building.

I drove to the VFW and parked in the lot to wait for the Captain. I had been thinking about Lucy Monroe ever since coming across Captain Monroe's name but for some reason this all felt surreal, almost as though the Captain Monroe I met today was a completely different person from the Lucy Monroe I knew back in Hillsboro.

About forty-five minutes later, a black Honda Civic with New Jersey plates pulled into the VFW parking lot and I saw Captain Monroe pop out of it once it was parked.

"Lucy!" I called from the open window of my car.

She was wearing black slacks and a flower printed blouse with sandals.

She acknowledged that she saw me and walked to the car, climbing into the passenger seat.

"This feels a little bit scandalous," she admitted.

"I know," I agreed as I put the car in gear and drove out of the lot.

"I must say I never thought I'd see you again," she admitted.

"You probably never wanted to see me again," I muttered.

"Oh, don't say that," she said. "How are your parents doing?"

"Fine," I replied. "My father retired a couple of years ago but he's volunteering. My mom's still working."

"They were so good to me," she recalled with affection. "If I ever went back there, it would be to see them."

"So, Cleveland Ohio?"

"My Aunt lived there," Lucy explained. "She probably saved my life. I did well at school and she had connections that helped get me into the Coast Guard Academy."

"I'm glad things went well for you," I said.

"It was a do over," Lucy said. "Nobody knew who I was or about my past so I didn't have any baggage. My Aunt was a very positive, supportive, motivational, inspirational person who got me on track and gave me the love I needed and craved. I owe my life to her."

I glanced at Lucy and nodded my head with understanding. "I'm sorry it was so hard for you in Hillsboro."

"It wasn't all bad," she said with a sad smile.

I was giving her the same tour I gave everybody who came to see me in Newport. A drive downtown past Cardine's Field, the oldest amateur baseball park in the United States and it reminded me of Beano Field back home in Hillsboro, the church where JFK and Jackie O were married, the Tennis Hall of Fame, the drive around Ocean Drive and onto Mansion Row past The Breakers and all the other 'cottages' from the Gilded Age, down the hill past the beaches, around to Salve Regina University, and up the road to the Portsmouth Abbey at the top of the island. If there was time, I usually drove back to the Naval Station and showed them the sights on base.

"So, divorced, huh?" Lucy asked. "Anybody I know?"

"No, she wasn't from Hillsboro," I replied. "We met in the Navy which made it even harder, trying to get orders to the same area and all that. I had see duty when she had overseas duty and we never seemed to be together."

"No kids?"

"A daughter from another relationship," I sighed. She's fourteen now. Lives with her mother in Mayport Florida."

"Fourteen! Wow!"

"Yeah, I try not to think about that!" I groaned.

"I made a conscious decision to put my career first," Lucy told me. "So while there's been a few love affairs along the way, I'm married to the Coast Guard first and won't worry about the rest until I retire."

"Makes for a lonely life sometimes," I sighed.

"I know," she agreed. "But that's what we signed up for, right?"

"I guess," I said. "I put my papers in few months ago," I announced.

"Oh yeah? Congratulations! What do you have planned?"

"Headin' back to Hillsboro," I informed her. "A buddy offered me a job in his IT Department."

"Well, good luck and thank you for your service."

"You too!"

"I've still got awhile to go before I hit the magic thirty," she replied.

"It's kind of hard to believe it's over for me already," I said.

"Maybe it's just starting," she replied.

I showed her the various sights and made a few points about each sighting and eventually we stopped at a clam shack in Portsmouth and had dinner on a picnic table overlooking the bay.

I was feeling particularly mellow and at ease given our peaceful surroundings and the tranquil view and I felt like I needed to say something to Lucy.

"I'm sorry," I said.

"For what?" She asked, biting on her clam roll.

"For being such a bastard to you," I sighed.

"You were my best friend, Billy," Lucy reminded me. "My only friend."

"Which makes what I did to you all the more unforgiveable," I remarked.

"What'd you do?" Lucy asked with a frown.

"Eighth grade Social?" I moaned.

"Oh, that," She said, waiving her hand as if she was trying to swat a fly away. "I barely remember it."

"You barely remember getting dumped?" I groaned. "Come on."

She looked at me with surprise. "Well, you've obviously been spending much more time thinking about that than I have," she said with a smile. "I sort of kind of blocked everything out about Hillsboro," she admitted. "Except for you and your parents maybe."

"Are you letting me off the hook?" I asked.

"Do you need to be let off the hook?"

"Yes," I said, realizing I had been waiting for absolution for twenty-five years.

"Okay," she said with a wave of her hand. "You're forgiven."

I honestly felt relieved. "Thank you," I said, sucking in a deep breath.

She peered at me with an embarrassed look on her face. "I was pretty messed up back then, Billy," she admitted.

"You had it tough," I said.

"Maybe," she agreed. "But none worse than others."

"Did your father beat you?"

"He hit me," she acknowledged, glancing out at the bay with sadness in her eyes.

"Did anything else happen?" I asked quietly.

I saw tears in her eyes. "My aunt brought me to therapy. I'm doing okay."

"Is your Mom still alive?" I wondered.

Lucy shook her head no and wiped the tear from her eye.

"I'm sorry, Lucy," I let her know.

"But my Aunt is," she said with a forced brave smile. "I'm grateful for that."

"That's good," I smiled in return.

"Maybe I owe you an apology too," Lucy said after a moment of quietness.

"For what?"

"Some of the stuff I did," she said, glancing away.

"You were just a mixed up kid," I said. "It's okay."

She rested her chin in her hand and studied me. "Now you're letting me off the hook," she observed.

I grinned. "It's okay. Besides, if folks who knew you then could see you now they would be absolutely amazed," I remarked. "You're one of the most successful people I know from Hillsboro."

"Who would have thought," Lucy said

We finished our meal and I offered to take Lucy back to her car.

"Not yet," she said. "Show me where you live."

I agreed and drove her a few miles down the road to a small cottage like clap sided house on the bay. It was only four rooms but that's all I needed.

"This is quaint," she smiled. "Can I see the inside?"

"Sure," I said as we sat in the driveway.

Was she being innocent and curious or did she have something else in mind? My heart raced as I escorted her into the house. It had been a while since I'd been in a relationship and almost as long since I'd been with a woman.

But this wasn't some woman. It was Lucy from my past and it was Captain Monroe of the United States Coast Guard. Fraternization mattered!

I gave her a quick tour of the house and we ended up standing in the living room window as dusk settled in watching the last of the light fade from over the bay. She asked if I had any wine and I poured her a glass. We didn't say much as we stood sipping the wine and watching the fading view.

"I was pretty pathetic back then, wasn't I?" Lucy sighed.

"Not at all," I assured her. "You were just lonely."

"And desperate."

"Maybe a little."

"Acting out the way I did in some perverse sense of sexuality," she groaned. "It makes me cringe."

"I'm glad you trusted me," I admitted openly.

"But you never did anything," she sighed.

"I was fourteen," Lucy. "I was mixed up. Scared. Not ready."

"Are you ready now?" Lucy whispered.

"Captain….."

"Come on Billy, it's me," she groaned. "Don't give me the Captain bullshit."

"You could get in trouble if somebody found out," I warned.

"Who's going to find out?" She asked. "I'm not telling anybody."

"It's still against Fraternization policies," I reminded her.

"Billy, I'm flying out tomorrow night," Lucy said. "You're about to retire. You think it's going to matter?"

I put my glass of wine on the table and removed from hers from her hand and put it down too.

"Could we pretend it's the night of the Social again?"

"I don't like dances," she giggled.

"The dance is over," I said. "We've come home. We danced our asses off and had the time of our lives."

She stepped into me and put her face close to mine, kissing me before she slid her tongue inside my mouth and played with mine in a way that she never would have done on the night of the Social.

Ironically, just like then, I was afraid. I knew this was finally going to happen but I also knew we were breaking regulations and my Navy training left me at odds no matter how warm and inviting her lips and tongue felt.

Lucy broke the kiss. "What's the matter?"

"Captain."

"Jesus, we're going to have to find something to calm you down," she said.

"Got any Phenobarbital?" I semi-joked.

She started kissing me again, her wonderful tongue teasing my mouth. Her hands

unbuttoned my shirt and she pulled it up and off over my head before she started caressing my chest while occasionally venturing down to my stomach and the start of my pants.

"Not in front of the window," I suggested.

She giggled and allowed me to lead her into the bedroom. Tentatively I reached out and cupped her breasts through her blouse. She moaned and reached both arms behind me as she crushed herself against me.

I got her blouse unbuttoned and began caressing her magnificent breasts. They weren't all that much bigger then they were the last time I saw them but they belonged to a woman now. She broke our embrace, reached behind and unsnapped her bra, smiling as her breasts tumbled free.

"Oh, Lucy," I said with appreciation.

After resisting and rejecting her all those times before, this time I leaned over and buried my face in her breasts, kissing and sucking her tits while going from one to the other, slathering them and her nipples with my tongue. She dropped her head back moaning as I ran my tongue around her nipples, first in large circles which gradually became smaller. Slowly, I drew one of the nipples into my mouth and I began to suck as I went back and forth between her two tits driving her into a frenzy.

"Oh, Billy," she moaned.

I began running my tongue down her chest to her stomach and back to her breasts again. Taking her louder moans as permission to continue, I dropped to my knees and began to undo her slacks and she helped me pull her pants down and off. I began to go lower toward her privates still hidden by her white panties when she pulled my head away and looked down into my eyes.

"Do you know what you're about to do?" She whispered.

I nodded. "Are you sure you want me to…..Captain?" I asked one final time.

She chuckled in a very sexy manner. "Aye."

I returned to running my tongue around her bellybutton, occasionally dipping below into her panties and dramatically increasing her moans. I grabbed her panties and slowly pulled them down her legs while I ran my tongue down to where her pubic hairs were, feeling them tickling my nose. I used my tongue to explore until I found my way inside and I started flicking at her womanhood with my tongue and sucking it into my mouth.

Lucy grabbed my head and crushed it into her legs. I kept sucking gently on her, my saliva mixing with her juices until she was soaked. Taking a deep breath, I shoved my tongue as far into her as it would go. She mashed my head against her while moaning. I put both my hands on her ass and pushed her into me more.

When I brought her to a climax in that way, I broke her iron-like grasp on my head and leaned back, looking up at her with a huge grin on my face while I saw her fighting to keep her balance, her eyes rolling in the back of her head.

When she finally collected herself, she smiled and helped me to my feet. She began taking off my pants while I pushed the blouse off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor. I stepped out of my fallen jean and underwear and Lucy reached down and put her hand around my cock, stroking it back and forth a few times.

She walked me to the bed and sat down on it, pulling me towards her and down toward her womanhood. Without letting go of my cock, she slowly worked it into her while grabbing my ass with her other hand. When she had all of me in her, she let go of my cock, grabbed my ass with both hands and moved her hips up and down against me while I thrust with all my strength against her, her hands on my ass pulling me deeper into her.

"Should I get a condom?" I asked.

"Too late," She decided. "It's okay. I'm safe."

I kept up the pace, going in and out as deep as I could with her writhing and moaning, her hips thrusting back and meeting my every stroke with equal passionate force. Suddenly, she grabbed me around the hips with her legs and she sank her teeth into my neck while she reached her second orgasm. I could feel her pulsating in rhythm to her body convulsions as she became lost in the throws of her orgasm and she held on to me long after her orgasm subsided and let me release myself inside her too.

Finally, when I was done, she relaxed her legs and let me pull out of her and when I rolled off of her, she buried her head into my chest and began to sob.

"Lucy?" I asked with surprise. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she said, trying to collect herself. "I'm just remembering how desperately I loved you back then and how much I wanted you."

"We were too young," I said, kissing her on the top of the head. "Shh…. Don't cry."

"I can't help it," she stammered. "It hurt so bad back then."

"Shh," I said, kissing her tears while wiping them away with my hand. "It's all over now. You're different now. It's okay."

"Thank you," she said, snuggling up to me, her breasts pressing against my arm.

She started stroking my thigh as we lay clinging to one another. Before the night was over she gave me a hand job and later, in the darkness of night, we made love again.

###

Lucy woke me up at five in the morning.

"I need to take my morning run," she said. "Can you take me back to my car?"

"Of course," I said, sitting up in the bed and admiring her lovely naked form. "This is the best Reveille I can remember!"

I leaned over and cupped one of her breasts with my hand while kissing the other one with my lips.

"We don't have time, Billy," she purred.

"Sure we do," I insisted, pushing her back on the bed and mounting her.

The dawn was breaking as I drove her back to her car a half hour later.

"I'll see you at the Symposium later, Chief," she told me as I pulled the car into the parking lot.

"Very well, Captain," I acknowledged with a sad sigh.

She leaned over and gave me a hearty kiss. "I always loved you, Billy," she told me.

"I'm glad," I replied, watching as she climbed out of the car and strolled toward her own.

I went to Gym 109 on the base and washed the sex off of me in the shower before heading to the office and changing into my Khaki uniform.

When the Symposium panel arrived in the lecture hall, I greeted the officers with friendly hellos and 'fine Navy days' and all the rest of it, trying not to look at Captain Monroe to much knowing how hard it would be not to blush or flush.

When the symposium ended at the end of the day, the Admiral returned to make his concluding remarks and to thank the professor, the panel, and all the participants for a lively and exciting two day event.

Captain Monroe and the rest of the panel was escorted out by Lieutenant Hall and I sighed realizing I hadn't gotten a chance to say goodbye. It was a good hour before I finished putting everything away and as I walked outside I saw the rented black Honda Civic with the New Jersey license plates pull to the curb in front of the building.

"I'm going to miss my flight if I don't leave right now, Chief," Captain Monroe informed me. "But thank you for everything!"

I fell into attention and snapped her a hearty head salute.

She smiled and acknowledged the hand salute with one of her own before she sped away for the airport.

"Goodbye, Captain," I said as I watched the car disappear.