A Day in the Life of a Unicorn

heroes Steven Washington DC Marine memorial

It only took 26 years for my husband to get here. I am so proud because today he becomes a unicorn. That’s right. My big strong, handsome, smart, and funny husband turns into a mythical creature very few, if any, have ever seen. He joins the ranks of the Phenix, pigs that fly, and the idea of common sense. He was promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5).

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A Little Disclosure


Yes, mine. First of all, I don’t talk about my husband very much on this blog. He is a private person whose only social media accounts are LinkedIn and Untappd. I don’t have to tell you which one he uses most.

However, I’ve shared that he is a logistician, that he doesn’t think I’m a good driver, and that he hates when I take pictures of his food. If our marriage was a puzzle, I would place all the pieces around the edges and he would fill in the middle. I say where we’re going and he creates the route. I am a big picture, he is details, etc, etc…



A Military Spouse’s Prerogative


But I digress… I feel he’ll allow this one liberty. This one opportunity to praise his accomplishment and share a journey– while not entirely mine– with you. How many people can say they have reached the top of their profession? How many people can say they are a real-life unicorn? Exactly!



A Rare Occasion Indeed



Incredibly, he is being promoted “below zone” which means ahead of schedule and on his first look from the board. Currently, there are approximately 480,000 active-duty soldiers. And less than 1% of them are CW5s. Do the math– it’s the rarest rank in the United States Army. So yeah, a unicorn is an apt description– my very own “bedazzled” unicorn as a matter of fact.


Come One, Come All


We’ve been told that there will be people who will attend the ceremony simply to see a CW5 being promoted. They don’t know Steven or me but as a senior service member told me “I’ve never seen a Chief Warrant Officer Five being pinned. I just want to see it for myself.” That’s cool– the more the merrier.


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The Guest List



We just moved here (Fort Riley) a few weeks ago, so we haven’t had much time to make friends. My unicorn is fortunate to have made some great friends in the last 26 years. We have a few friends coming in from out of town. And my dad is flying in from Rochester.

But the majority of the attendees will be people he just met at work. With one notable exception. The person performing the ceremony is a former commander who knows Steven very well. He won’t be reading his bio from the program– he will recount personal stories of his achievements from firsthand knowledge. This in itself will make the ceremony more personal.



The Timing is Bittersweet



On the other hand, the timing is perfect for my daughter. She is in the Navy stationed in Italy and she is up for re-enlistment. For you non-military people, that means her initial length of enlistment (3 years) is about to expire. And she has decided to stay in the military for another 3 years. For a brief moment, you leave the military and then are readmitted with the oath. Steven is the one who will administer it.

Only officers are allowed to perform this ceremony and my husband has done it two previous times. So later this month we are off to Italy for a couple of weeks to keep up the tradition. I gotta admit this is a pretty cool family tradition. And my daughter is pretty stoked to have her dad and a freshly appointed unicorn at her beck and call.



The Ceremony



I love the pomp and circumstance of military ceremonies. And this promotion was no exception. Steven created the entire program from start to finish. It included a heartfelt speech acknowledging all the people he credits with helping him achieve success. Flowers for me and plaques for my dad and the master of ceremony. And for our son, a money envelope. “I know what you like and I know what you want”, he added with a chuckle.

The promotion ended with the Army song, a benediction by the post chaplain, and a receiving line and lunch.



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Time to Party


We have decided to cater to the celebrations because it’s such a big deal. But honestly, since the official reception at headquarters is for 50-60 people (we’re estimating) that we don’t know, we’ve decided on sandwiches and veggie platters. Ultimately, we ordered 5 platters of assorted sandwiches, pinwheels, and vegetables from Dillons. In addition, they were able to make a full sheet cake with yellow cake and whipped icing. And, girl!! If there was a second star in the ceremony it was the cake. It was absolutely delicious.

However, the more personal reception will take place at our home. Where I’ve catered a good ole Jamaican BBQ. I am serving jerk and curry chicken, rice and beans, cabbage, and beef patties for about 20 friends and family. Negril Caribbean Restaurant in Junction City cooked everything the morning of the ceremony.



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Thanks and Final Thoughts



After it was all done, in the wee hours of the morning, I asked him would he have done it any other way. He said no, a little too quickly, and then added, I would have had Jennifer Hudson or Angie Stone come to sing the National Anthem.

Many thanks to the friends and family who did come. And especially those who flew in for the occasion. My dad, Col Evans, Dave, and Kate– we love and appreciate your support. Thanks to the Public Relations Office at Fort Riley for all the photographs. And the Protocols Office for the accommodations that made the ceremony special for the newest unicorn on the planet.


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