Friday, May 22, 2009

Semper Paratus

“Sometimes the public recognition isn’t always expected – or necessarily welcomed. Specialist Zachary Boyd recently was enjoying a well-deserved sleep when his post in eastern Afghanistan came under enemy attack. He immediately grabbed his rifle and rushed into a defensive position clad in his helmet, body armor, and pink boxer shorts that said 'I Love New York.'

"Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your perspective – an AP photographer was there for a candid shot, a photo which ran shortly thereafter on the front page of the New York Times. Boyd later told his parents that: 'I may not have a job anymore after the president has seen me out of uniform.'

"Well, let me tell you, the next time I visit Afghanistan I want to meet Specialist Boyd and shake his hand. Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage. And I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban. Just imagine seeing that – a guy in pink boxers and flip-flops has you in his crosshairs – what an incredible innovation in psychological warfare. I can assure you that Specialist Boyd’s job is very safe indeed.”
-- Sec'y of Defense Robert Gates

1 comment:

ronnie said...

I saw this photo earlier this week. Wonderful response by Gates (which I had not seen).

Actually, though, I'm not certain that pink boxers would've made any impact on the Taliban. I can't speak to Afghanistan, but a phenomenon I've noticed with African immigrant parents in particular is that they will dress boys in pink until someone quietly informs them that in North America, pink is a "girly" colour. Originally, I believe that pink - a cousin of red, the colour of fire and war - was a male colour in many cultures (including Western Europe). Blue, the colour associated with the Madonna, and peace, was a female colour.

Anyway, good on Specialist Zachary Boyd for being battle-ready in his skivvies and flip-flops - whatever the colour.