The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Army Bob Takes a Bride

Posted on | June 24, 2016 | 28 Comments

Earlier this year, my son Bob and his girlfriend came to visit us for Easter. Bob has been in the Army since 2013 and, while stationed at Fort Bragg, met a lovely girl named Johanna who is an art student (she does video animation). While they were visiting, Bob invited Johanna to hike up to Black Rock, a peak on South Mountain along the Appalachian Trial that has been a favorite destination since Bob and his twin brother Jim were about 10 years old. It was a special occasion when Bob and Johanna hiked up and reached the scenic overlook, where he gave her a gift . . .


Yes, that’s an engagement ring on her finger. Bob popped the question, Johanna said yes, and they set the wedding for June 25.

Repeat: June 25. As in Saturday — tomorrow. [Sunday — see update]


The brevity of their engagement can be explained by saying that (a) Johanna is a fine Christian girl from a fine Christian family, so that (b) premarital cohabitation would be unacceptable, and (c) did I mention that married soldiers get a subsidy for off-base housing? Thank you, America, for promoting family values to our troops in such a direct way.

Our soldier is due for promotion at the end of this month, which means the couple soon will be Sergeant and Mrs. McCain. This makes the third of our six children to get married. Our oldest daughter Kennedy married her high-school sweetheart in 2010, while Bob’s twin brother Jim and his wife already have two sons. It’s a good kind of sibling rivalry.

Jim and Bob at Jim’s wedding.

Bob and Jim, age 5.

They were so inseparable (and almost indistinguishable) as boys my wife and I just called them “the boys,” as in, “Where are the boys? What trouble did the boys get into today?” For the first six years of the twins’ lives, our kids were “Kennedy and the boys.” Then came two more brothers and a baby sister, but Bob and Jim as “the boys” were a phenomenal tag-team of mischief. There was both teamwork and rivalry between them, and so when Jim married a lovely girl and provided us with two wonderful grandsons, it was like, “Gotta step up your game, Bob.”


Well done, soldier. Now, it’s time for the Old Man to do his part — rattling the hell out of the tip jar. Mrs. McCain expects me to foot the bill for our trip to North Carolina, three nights in a hotel, etc., and so I’m dusting of the Shoe Leather Fund, and requesting reader support for this 740-mile round-trip expedition. About $600 should suffice, so if 120 readers gave $5 each, or 60 readers gave $10 each, or 30 readers gave $20 each, this would enable me to tell my wife, “See? This blogging thing is a real job. The readers actually do care.”

Believe it or not, after all these years and the many miles I traveled on the Shoe Leather Fund, sometimes my wife occasionally doubts the power of the Five Most Important Words in the English Language:


Thanks in advance. I’ll post wedding photos this weekend.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Greetings from beautiful downtown Sanford, N.C.

About 20 minutes after we left home, my brother called to inform me that the wedding is Sunday, not Saturday, which goes to show you how out of the loop I am in terms of the planning operations.





28 Responses to “Army Bob Takes a Bride”

  1. Grampy_Bone
    June 24th, 2016 @ 9:51 am

    Aww! What a great family.

  2. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 24th, 2016 @ 9:58 am
  3. Frankie
    June 24th, 2016 @ 10:52 am

    Congratulations to the family!

    But I do have to call shenanigans. Despite the fact that I went from E1 to E5 in two years, I doubt your son is going to do it any faster then 12 or 15 years. After all Matt Osborne (close associate and co-Defendant of the Speedway Bomber) was in the Army for 10 years and couldn’t rise above E4. /sarc

  4. Jeanette Victoria ?????????
    June 24th, 2016 @ 11:02 am

    Great news I see more Grandkids in your future!

  5. Adrienne
    June 24th, 2016 @ 11:12 am

    Such a handsome son with his beautiful bride. Congratulations to both and to you and Mrs. McCain.

  6. Steve Skubinna
    June 24th, 2016 @ 11:30 am

    It took me three. But SGT was by far my favorite rank, even after I was commissioned.

    Senior enough to get out of most scutwork and junior enough not to attract undue attention from above.

    When I was in, we still had Spec 4/5/6, so I thought getting hard strips was a big deal even though the pay was the same.

  7. Finrod Felagund
    June 24th, 2016 @ 11:38 am


  8. Jim Christian
    June 24th, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

    Congrats, but I just spent $50.00 on Trump, recurring monthly payments.

  9. Rhino ?
    June 24th, 2016 @ 2:22 pm


  10. M. Thompson
    June 24th, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

    I can. Knew nuke propulsion techs who came in as E-3, once done with A school E-4, and a year later E-5.

  11. Steve Skubinna
    June 24th, 2016 @ 4:12 pm

    We used to call those “push button E4s” when I was in. A few years after I left I heard they tightened it way up so that it was much rarer to see a newbie report aboard with a shiny new crow on his sleeve.

    But in my day you never saw, for example, an ETSN. The rawest Electronics Tech was always a PO3.

  12. M. Thompson
    June 24th, 2016 @ 4:18 pm

    I was a push button 3rd as a MT, but it took me another 3 1/2 years to put on E-5.

  13. Art Deco
    June 24th, 2016 @ 5:06 pm


    There’s one good kind of wedding: a cheap one. Elaborate weddings are tempting fate. The chances of the hangovers lasting longer than the marriage are directly proportional to the size of the wedding party. Bride, groom, officiant, father of bride, friends of the bride and groom (i.e. the close circle of friends they will mix with as a couple), and as few others as you can get away with and stay on speaking terms.

    Maryland must have an analogue to this place

    for the dinner.

    One to three photographs at a studio. Black and white’s best.

  14. Joe Joe
    June 24th, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

    Congratulations! Looks like you raised a fine young man there.

  15. Vicky Fisher
    June 24th, 2016 @ 7:41 pm

    Congratulations Awesome ! 8-|

  16. Steve White
    June 24th, 2016 @ 8:05 pm

    Congrats. Your son is a lucky man. Plus we can all see the family resemblance!

  17. Quartermaster
    June 24th, 2016 @ 8:11 pm

    Congratulations to the couple. May it be long, happy and fruitful!

    Is Army Bob a “Girl Scout” yet?

  18. Zilla of the Resistance
    June 24th, 2016 @ 8:42 pm

    Congratulations! What beautiful young people. I hope your fabulous readers come through. Sorry that I am el broko due to vet bills from poor tragic Telly kitten and feeding our puppies who are voracious, but please accept my very best wishes and prayers for your family to be forever blessed.

  19. Krystal Bowie
    June 25th, 2016 @ 1:41 am
  20. Daniel O'Brien ?????????
    June 25th, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

    Wedding Pix or it didn’t happen! Consider it compensation for the ten spot I kicked your way. Congrats to you and yours!

  21. Jeanette Victoria ?????????
    June 25th, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

    Dang you are not far from me!

  22. Jeanette Victoria ?????????
    June 25th, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

    LOL have camera will travel…….

  23. Quartermaster
    June 25th, 2016 @ 8:38 pm

    It’s been a long time Sp6 was still around. Sp5 was buried in the early 80s.

    I wasn’t in the Army at the time, but my understanding was the hard stripers out ranked the Specialists.

  24. JeffS
    June 25th, 2016 @ 10:30 pm

    Congratulations to the happy couple!

  25. Steve Skubinna
    June 25th, 2016 @ 11:54 pm

    I just checked and Spec 6 went until 1985. Apparently Spec 7 existed until 1978, which was during my tenure but I never saw any.

    But yes, specialists were not NCOs so a hard stripe CPL theoretically outranked a Spec 7 (or 8 or 9). But it was kind of tricky, sort of the way in the Navy a line Ensign outranked the SC or MC or JAG four striper in a boat.

    As far as I knew, in the seventies the only Corporals were Infantry squad leaders or assistants and MPs. Now they may be more common, but what the hey, I went to Navy OCS in 1979 and left the Green Machine behind.

  26. trangbang68
    June 26th, 2016 @ 7:20 am

    Yea! Congratulations

  27. Quartermaster
    June 26th, 2016 @ 7:33 am

    It had been years since I had seen a SP6. SP5 got buried when I was in the TNARNG. I remember a couple SP5s showing up as hard stripers. I went to OCS meself a bit afterwards.

    I don’t see a point in having Tankers as SP4. The guys in combat arms should be corporals.

    We had a SC ossifer on Courtney and he didn’t stand watches underway when I first went aboard. After change of command in December 72, the new CO had him on the watch bill underway. He whined a bit about being “outranked” by the boot Ensign we had aboard. Since he wasn’t a line officer, the CO wasn’t ever going to let him stand watch as OOD underway. He was QDWO in port, however. HE whined a bit about that too.

  28. Scenes from a Wedding : The Other McCain
    June 27th, 2016 @ 10:01 am

    […] N.C. As promised earlier, here are a few photos from Sunday’s wedding of my son Bob and his lovely bride, taken by my brother Kirby […]