Many comment, when they see me on land, as opposed to in the air or on a vessel, about my bright red shoes. Thinking its a fashion statement, there is a grin and often a wish, that deep down, the viewer wishes he or she could wear red shoes with their Hugo Boss or Tommy Hilfilger suit.
While my bright red shoes have become a trademark; they began during OPSAIL 2000 with a security discussion in the office of the USCG Commander in Norfolk. He was concerned his “assets” might not all realize who I was, or that I had clearance flying inside the security perimeter of the USCG Eagle with my helicopter or later, approaching the tall ship on the James River, via a chartered launch.
So, taking a page from the White House security, as press members are assigned a differing colored lapel pin, with the color only revealed the morning of the visit, I pointed to my then Red Nike’s and saId, “Commander, notify your people to look for the RED SHOES.”