My Most Embarrassing Moment – came when I was deployed to Iraq in 2005. I was a late arrival to the unit and had not trained with them or with those who would become my team/Soldiers. I figured I had plenty of time to get caught up once we arrived in country. When I found out I was deploying I began reading up on the history to better understand the enemy and key players in the situation. I tricked myself into thinking I knew enough of the situation and would continue learning more once we arrived.
Soon after our arrival, I was given a task to brief our Commanding General. I was to give him some history, information about the enemy forces, and current situation on the ground. Man, I was stressed out because I quickly learned I still had a LOT TO LEARN about the situation!
I put together a PowerPoint presentation and made my notes for the briefing. The day came for me to deliver my presentation to the Commanding General of our Division, someone who I would have continual interaction with for the duration of our deployment – I wanted to do a good job and make an impression.
Well, an impression I did make! I commenced to deliver the worse briefing I had ever given in my career! I hate briefing off note cards so I got all flustered as I made an attempt to refer to my notes and brief from my memory (which was minimal and discombobulated). I felt like the teacher on the Peanuts cartoon special – whaaaww, whaaaww, whaaaww, whaaaww! Worse than that the General and everyone in the room looked like they were constipated – sheer pain and discomfort as they watched me crash and burn during this briefing!
I could not wait for it to be over so to free myself I said, “in closing….” As everyone shifted in their chairs I calmly ended the briefing and excited the room headed straight to the bathroom to let loose the tears I had been holding back for the past 30 minutes! Yes, Soldiers do cry! I cried first out of disappointment in myself, then embarrassment, and finally out of RELIEF!! As I wiped my face and forced a smile, I encouraged myself with these words “There’s nowhere to go but UP from here!”