HUGGY LADY |
September 06, 2011
Name: C.J. Grisham
Returned from: Iraq
Deployed to: Afghanistan
Milblog: Afghanistan War Journal
One of the first impressions that Soldiers get as they leave for combat from Ft. Hood is a young lady affectionately known as “Huggy Lady.”
Since 2003, Ms. Elizabeth (her real name) has been present at virtually every departure of Soldiers leaving the base for a combat zone. She began as a volunteer with the Salvation Army alongside the USO. Eventually, the Salvation Army role was reduced and the USO took over. Huggy Lady asked to be allowed to keep showing up and has done so.
She told me that she gets her name because she makes sure that not one Soldier deploys without one last hug. It started a few years ago when a Soldier asked for a hug before he left. Then, another Soldier said if that guy got a hug, he wanted one too. She quickly realized it would be unfair to give just a few select Soldiers hugs and vowed from that moment on to ensure that every Soldier got one.
She’s a fantastic lady and shared some great stories of motivation with the troops prior to the briefings. I was selected to be the Chalk Commander and was in charge of the group of Soldiers deploying. She got the fun briefings, while I was relegated to giving the brief that informs the troops that, even though they are carrying firearms onto a chartered jet, there WILL BE NO “knives or knifelike” items on the plane. No hazardous materials, lighters, etc. Yes, it’s true. Soldiers going into combat must surrender their knives and Gerbers prior to boarding. They can put them in their checked luggage, they just can’t be on their person.
Anyway, Huggy Lady is just the sweetest person on the planet. It doesn’t matter what time of the day a unit is deploying, she is there so send them off with an affectionate hug. I just loved her. And I made sure that I got four hugs. I hope I didn’t set a new standard!