Formal Drill and Ceremony (DNC) was never a thing that Delta operators are very good at — or even ANY good at all at. In fact, I could go so far as to declare in all confidence that Delta operators are indeed ceremoniously challenged. It’s not a bragging right; it’s a simple matter of being horrendously out of practice. It is, as I came to abruptly learn, a rather perishable skill!

In my ten years with Delta never a single time did I stand in a formal formation. Physical training was never conducted as a group unless it was a specific testing event, and even then, no DNC applied. Officers and NCOs didn’t salute; they shook hands, but only if there was respect between them, which was always the case.

During my time in the Unit, I was gifted with an opportunity to attend a much-vaunted senior leader’s course called Operations and Intelligence (O&I). I was in this training course that pipe-hitters learned advanced Intelligence Preparation of Battlespace (IPB) and refined their understanding of the covenants of Special Forces guerrilla operations, that is, Low-Intensity Conflict/Unconventional Warfare (LIC/UW).

(A basic product of skill acquired from the O&I Course)

The school saw mostly Sergeants First Class (E-7) seeking promotion to Master Sergeant (E-8). I was already a MSG when I came to O&I, a thing that didn’t sit well with many of my classmates who deemed that I was taking a space needlessly from a man trying to get promoted. I agreed with that, but my unit sent me to the school — I did not ask to go. What’s more, I had been running damned-hard for seven years straight with no break.

While DNC is a priority for the regular Army, I had let my skills atrophy so much that I didn’t even have a proper uniform ready to go, and, as fate is fickle, I was caught short by my own lack of situational awareness. Being a Master Sergeant, I was incidentally the senior man in the class, therefore the Class Leader.

The night before the first day of class I was strangely restless. Understand it I did not, and I raised myself from bed to imbibe in cool water. The first window I passed I was started by the light of the full moon that spilled into the room… the blue light of the blue moon!

“I do not trust this color, this odd color… this color I strangely mistrust!”

Perhaps it was a dream, but it meant something, an admonishment of sorts that I loathed I could not unravel, rendering me nervous anticipation of the first day of class. The blue moon. Something only happens “once in a blue moon,” but what did it portend for me?