A few months ago, a woman soldier loosened her boots.
After a little while Captain Amy Delbray reached under her desk and pulled off her loose boots, briefly
rubbed her toes and then stretched her long legs out and pressed her stocking feet into modesty panel
of her desk.
There was a loud bang.
The noise startled Seargent Shelbie Ramo. She looked up and across at Captain Delbray. It was a
surprising sight. An equally startled and slightly embarrassed Captain Delbray was sitting at her desk
with her stocking feet suspended in the air sticking out from under her desk. The modesty panel of her
desk lay flat on the floor. The captain was wearing one blue sock with white stars on one foot and a red
and white striped sock on the other foot.
"Are you alright Ma'am" asked Ramo?
"Of course, I am Ramo", said Captain Delbray as she quickly rose and walked in her stocking feet to the
front of her desk in order to survey the situation.
Seargent Ramo joined Captain Delbray in front of her desk. The captain squatted down on tiptoes to get
a closer look. Seargent Ramo could not take her eyes of the captain's outlandish socks. She noticed how
small the captain's feet were and what a high instep she had.
Captain Delbray spotted a screw lying next to her boot. "I think we can fix this", she said as she crawled
under her desk to retrieve the screw.
With Captain Delbray's butt and stocking feet protruding from under her desk General Stroom entered
their work area.
"Atten hup", shouted Seargent Ramo as she jumped to attention and snapped a crisp salute.
General Stroom returned the sergeant's salute and watched the captain back her butt out from under
her desk. Captain Delbray severely bumped her head as she came to attention in her stocking feet. Her
salute was not quite as crisp as the sergeant's.
"At ease", said the General. "I'll be brief Delbray".
Amy just wanted to hide her feet but she managed to listen attentively to the General.
"I've been reassigned to the Pentagon", explained General Stroom. "General Cruste will be the new CO.
I need you to coordinate the Change of Command Ceremony details with Major Max Donatiri from
general Cruste's staff".
"Yes Sir", replied the Captain.
The General left as quickly as he entered.
Captain Delbray, still in her stocking feet plopped into her chair rubbing her sore head. "Do you think the
General noticed I didn't have my boots on Ramo"?
"Permission to speak freely Ma'am", asked Sergeant Ramo.
"Granted", sighed Captain Delbray.
"I don't know how anyone could miss those non mil spec socks. They don't exactly match the OCP camo
Major Max Donatiri stood in her bra and pantyhose looking at the new Class A uniform she laid out on
her bed. She had her new "pink and greens" customed tailored to fit her lithe athletically sculpted body
tightly. She donned her blouse. Each button she button pulled her blouse taut against her skin. No
button was strained nor did the yield any slack. Her pantyhose made slipping into the skirt easier. Max
put on her jacket in front of the mirror. It was adorned perfectly with every medal, ribbon and insignia.
The only thing tighter than her uniform was her long jet-black hair pulled into a military sock bun. She
pivoted on her stocking feet to inspect her uniform. Satisfied at her appearance she twirled around and
walked towards her patent leather 3-inch pumps that stood on the floor. She stretched her foot forward
curling her toes into the of the pump and pulled it back towards her. Slipping her foot easily into it she
stooped down and picked up the other pump. Doing an about face she walked towards the mirror
carrying her shoe. At the mirror she bent her leg at the knee and pulled on her shoe.
Her pumps were comfortable. They weren't as tight as her uniform giving a little more comfort to her
toes and the ability to easily pop a heel out of her shoe at her convenience. Now fully in uniform she did
one last inspection of her appearance. Max then grabbed her riding crop. She briefly thought about
taking with her but decided against it. Instead she loudly slapped it against her shoe, grinned happily
and put it back in its place. It was time to see the General.
General Cruste heard the click of high heeled pumps echo in the hallway. They started softly at a
distance and grew louder as the came closer to his open door. He looked up from his desk in
anticipation. Major Donatiri stepped in to view. The Major entered the General's office, snapped to
attention and saluted smartly.
"Major Donatiri reporting for duty Sir", said Max.
The General responded with a casual obligatory salute without standing. His eyes scanned up and down
Major Donatiri's body in the new Class A uniform.
"Twirl around Max", ordered the General.
Max twirled around as ordered.
"I like the way that uniform looks and the way it fits you".
"Me too", replied the Major with a subtle hint of smug admonishment.
"Sit down Max", said the General pointing to the chair in front of his desk that directly opposed him.
Max sat down in front of the General's desk. She crossed her right ankle over her left ankle and pulled
her feet back under them her chair, keeping her upper body erect with her hands in her lap.
General Cruste began to speak. "I'm taking over General Stroom's command. He's getting reassigned to
The heel of Max's left foot popped out of its shoe as she listened.
The General continued, "There is a Captain Delbray on General Stroom's staff that will be transferred to
my staff and a Sergeant I think that will be transferred to my staff".
Max kept her upper body motionless but started rotating and flexing her right foot.
"I want you to work with Captain Delbray and organize the Change of Command Ceremony. I want the
works. Everybody in the new Class A uniforms".
Max let the heel of her right foot pop out of its shoe.
"Which you wear so well", added the General parenthetically.
Max let her right shoe fall off her foot; it hit the floor with a resounding clop.
"Did you drop your shoe Max", the General asked excitedly?
Major Donatiri uncrossed her ankles, slid her left foot out of its shoe and lifted her knees towards her
chest. She rested her stocking feet on front on General Cruste desk. Her stocking sheathed toes peeked
over the front edge of his desk then curled to touch the desk top.
"I dropped both of them", said the Major. "They were dirty".
She wrapped her arms around her thighs under her knees and lifted her feet to rest her heels on top of
the General's desk. "I think they were making my feet dirty. I need to have my feet cleaned".
The Major wiggled her toes wildly and said "I think it's time to take this meeting in the 'skiff'". (A "skiff"
SCF is a secure communication facility where classified meetings and activities take place.)
"Grab my shoes General", ordered the Major.
Alone in the skiff with the General, Major Donatiri removed the belt of her jacket and whipped the table
"On your knees General", she barked.
The General obeyed silently.
She sat down and crossed her legs. The General crawled towards her. Looping her belt, she put it
around the General's neck and pulled it tight.
She kept pulling tighter until the General gasped and said "Napoleon".
Max eased her grip on the belt and pushed her stocking foot firmly against the General's face.
The General inhaled deeply.
The General ran his tongue along the arch of the Major's foot.
"Suck my toes"!
About 45 minutes later the General and the new Lieutenant Colonel exited the skiff impeccably dressed
in their uniforms.
Looking at her watch Max said, "Fifteen minutes until your next meeting. Shall I accompany you sir"?
"No Max", replied the General. "Go pick yourself up some silver oakleaf clusters".
Max snapped to attention and saluted the General.
General Cruste returned the salute.
"Make sure you contact Delbray today and keep me informed", he said.
General Cruste enjoyed watching the Lieutenant Colonel walk down the hall.
"Yes Ma'am -- Yes Ma'am -- Class A uniforms, the new ones- Yes Ma'am", Delbray said into the phone.
She hung up and said, "It looks like the Major is now Lieutenant Colonel Max Donatiri. Do you have a
new Class A uniform with a skirt Ramo? We should get them and start wearing them by the end of next
week. Apparently General Cruste wants that to be required for his command. He also prefers the
women to wear the skirt option".
"No more OCP's from now on Ma'am", said Ramo.
"According to regulations we can still wear the OCP's until the Change of Command but I think if we
started early while we're working with the Lieutenant Colonel it would be better", said Delbray.
"Understood Ma'am", replied Ramo.
Amy entered her apartment and immediately unzipped her tactical boots, pulled them off and left them
next to her door with her other shoes; she was wearing military issue socks. Dropping her back pack in
the hall. She walked to her laundry room peeled off her socks and threw them in the hamper. Her OCP's
soon followed. Being in her underwear reminded her of younger days when she was growing up at the
beach. Up until Army she was barefoot and bikini clad for as long as she could remember. It was
probably why she never got used to the army boots. Amy enjoyed the freedom of walking around her
apartment in her underwear for a brief while. Walking to her kitchen she got a beer. Amy sipped on her
beer and admired the pedicure on her toes; it was a shame her feet were in army boots most of the
time. She padded over to the sofa plopped down and propped up her feet on the ottoman.
There was a knock at her door, crap she thought as she was sitting in her underwear. Amy quickly but
reluctantly got up and walked towards her door. She opened her foyer closet and donned an army field
jacket then looked through the peep hole in her door thinking that she should get a Ring camera; it was
a delivery man.
"Just put the package in front of the door and I'll get when I'm ready", said Amy.
The delivery man complied and after a few moments, when the coast was clear Amy open the door to
retrieve the package.
Keeping her jacket on she walked barefoot and barelegged to her kitchen where she retrieved a knife to
cut open her package.
It was two dozen pairs of pantyhose; a needed requirement for her Class A uniform. Now she could try
on her full uniform.
Still wearing her field jacket, she sat on the edge of her bed and carefully pulled on her pantyhose one
leg at a time. Running her hands lightly over her leg she smoothed the hose. They were sheer nude
hose and she could still admire her pedicure as if her feet were still bare. Rising she went to her closet
but instead of pulling out her uniform she bent down and grabbed her military pumps. Stepping into
them she looked up and grabbed her officers cap placing it on her head.
Amy looked at her new uniform but the corner of her eye caught her reflection in the full-length mirror
on the inside of her closet door. Trying on the uniform could wait. She sashayed into her kitchen in her
pantyhose, heels, field jacket and hat. Grabbing another beer, she went back to the couch and sat in the
corner crossing her long legs, Immediately the heel of her pump dropped down and the shoe was
hanging loosely on her toes. It was time to call Major Moore.
Major Benny Moore was known as "Paint" but Amy called him Romeo and he called her Bradley. Major
Moore worked on General Tapton's staff who was in line to be the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Paint" was a good career connection but Romeo was a better lover. Amy was in the mood.
Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri sat at her desk in her private office. Beneath her desk her legs were
crossed. Her riding crop laid in her lap. She had been working on her computer diligently and her eyes
were feeling the strain. Closing her eyes, she leaned back in her chair and began fiddling with her riding
crop. Slowly she ran her riding crop down the calf of her crossed leg. Reaching her ankle, she gently
brushed her inside ankle bone with the tip of the crop. Then she plunged the crop into the instep
between her high arch and the shoe. She pushed her shoe completely off with the until it fell to the
floor. The she began tracing her stocking covered toes with the tip of the crop. There was a knock at her
door. Max's eyes snapped open and she sat up in her chair. She placed her riding crop on the floor
under her desk, uncrossed her legs and began pulling her shoe back with her stocking foot.
"Enter", said the Lieutenant Colonel.
Captain Delbray stood at attention in front of Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri and saluted.
"Captain Delbray reporting as requested Ma'am" she said.
Max returned the salute while seated and slipped her foot completely into its shoe. She took notice of
how statuesque Captain Delbray was but there was something about her that was unimpressive to
Donatiri's disciplined eye.
"Be seated", Max replied.
The two women talked for about a half hour then the Lieutenant Colonel ended the meeting.
"Dismissed", said Max.
There was something definitely about Delbray that Max didn't like but she really couldn't put her finger
on it. As Max heard Delbray's heels click away down the hallway, she crossed her legs and pushed the
heel of the shoe off with her finger. She began massaging her arch as her shoe dangled from her toes.
She seemed a little gawky Max thought. The shoe was now swinging only on the tip of her big toe so
Max began rubbing her arch more gently and pointing her toes upward so her shoe would slide off the
slippery nylon. After a few more moments of thinking she pulled her shoe back on and reached for her
riding crop. Captain Delbray vaguely reminded her of "Big Bird".
Ramo and Delbray were both dressed in their Class A uniforms as they walked the reception area for the
Change of Command ceremony. The Captain led the way and Sergeant Ramo followed dutifully writing
down notes as the Captain spoke. Ramo acknowledged the notes by repeating them and saying, "Yes
As Ramo was writing her notes she heard a clop. She glanced in the direction of the sound and noticed
that the Captain had slipped her foot halfway out of its shoe. Her toes were curling and uncurling as if
they were pulling comfort out of the air.
"Let's go over there", said the Captain as she pointed towards the corner of the room.
Ramo looked at where the Captain was pointing, and the Captain slipped her foot back into is shoe.
Once in the corner of the room the Captain pressed her hand into the wall and Ramo heard a much
louder clop. Again, she glanced down and saw the Captain had lifted her entire foot out of its shoe. The
nylon covered toes of the Captains foot were above and perpendicular to the heel of her shoe; she
rotated her ankle. Her toes then furtively nudged the back of her shoe then retreated as if the shoe
were to be avoided.
The Captain continued to talk and Ramo continued to write. After a few moments the Captain's foot
reluctantly found its way back into its shoe then the heel of her opposite foot popped out its shoe. It
was not long before her entire foot was out of its shoe. The Captain flexed her toes and pushed them in
to the floor. There was surprisingly loud crack of her toes that both women ignored.
At that moment the Captain's cell phone vibrated. Amy slipped her foot entirely back into it's as she
looked at her phone.
"I have to take this Ramo", said Captain. "Give me some room".
"Yes Ma'am", replied the Sergeant as she started to proceed to the opposite corner of the room.
Amy watched Ramo walk away and when she felt the distance was sufficient, she answered her phone.
"Hey, Romeo", she said into the phone.
"You know Bradley, I never got to see you in your new class A uniform last night", said Captain Moore.
"I guess you saw everything but... last night", said Amy.
Ramo saw the Captain smile and begin slowly slipping her foot in and out of its shoe.
"I'm wearing my Class A uniform now", replied Amy. "Maybe you'll see me in it when I come by to pick
up the pantyhose you stole from me".
Ramo saw the Captain get significantly shorter when she placed her stocking foot flat on the floor.
"Oh, I thought that was a gift", replied Captain Moore.
"So, what did you call about", asked Captain Delbray in a more official tone.
"Have you ever heard of Warrant Officer Connie Kelsey", asked Captain Moore.
"No"., said Captain Delbray.
Ramo saw the Captain shake her head no and popped the heel of her other foot out of its shoe.
"General Tapton is going to award her the DSC and Purple Heart in Washington", said Captain Moore,
"And I recommended you as someone who could coordinate ceremony and shepherd Kelsey through
the activities of the day. I know you've done that for other heroes in the past".
"The DSC wow", said Amy. "Thanks for recommending me. Where is Kelsey now"?
"She's in rehab now at Walter Reed".
Ramo continued to observe Captain Delbray as she slipped her foot out of its shoe and rubbed against
the side of her opposite leg. She curled her toes around her shin and ran he foot up and down, then she
wrapped the foot around the back of her calf and repeated the action.
"OK Kelsey is a wounded veteran in Walter Reed", Captain Moore began to explain. "She was under
General Tapton's command".
"Tapton wants the ceremony in the next few weeks", said Captain Moore. "He contacted General
Stroom. Stroom is on board with doing it your base and you being a liaison to Kelsey. You would arrange
meetings and appearances prior to and after she gets the medal. Your orders will come soon".
Amy realized she was standing in her stocking feet and Ramo might be observing her so she stepped
back into her shoes. When the call ended, she beckoned to summon Ramo.
While they went over Ramo's notes the Captain kept sliding her feet in and out of her shoes; it was not
unnoticed by Ramo.
"Very good", said the Captain, "Make the arrangements and then I'll schedule the Lieutenant Colonel's
"Yes Ma'am", replied Ramo.
"One more thing Ramo", said the Captain, "I want you to get the personnel file for Warrant Officer
Connie Kelsey and have it on my desk first thing tomorrow morning".
"Yes Ma'am", replied Ramo.
Sergeant Ramo arrived at the office early to lay out the files Captain Delbray requested on her desk. As
she laid out the files, she took time to notice the few personal pictures the Captain had on display. They
were mostly pictures of her with her friends and family. She noted how attractive the Captain was and
that the Captain was barefoot in every picture. Ramo did not perceive the gawkiness Donatiri did.
The Captain entered her office while Ramo was still behind her desk.
"Are those the files", asked the Captain?
"Yes Ma'am', answered Ramo.
"Excellent work Sergeant", said Delbray as she circled behind her desk and Ramo returned to hers.
The Captain sat down crossed her long legs under her desk and almost immediately her shoe was
hanging off of her toes. It was almost impossible for the Captain to keep her feet tight in her shoes
while wearing pantyhose.
"This will be a busy day Ramo", the Captain said as she began opening the files.
Ramo soon heard a familiar clop of an empty shoe hitting the hardwood. The Captain really had a
problem with shoes.
Delbray unconsciously pushed the toes of her stocking foot into the front panel of her desk. She
brushed the panel lightly with her toes and then realized what she was doing. Quickly she pulled her
foot back as she remembered how she had kicked the panel of her desk out before. Uncrossing her legs,
she crossed her ankles under her chair with her stocking foot on the floor and her shod foot over top.
Ramo heard another clop followed by the sound of an empty shoe sliding on the floor.
Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri unexpected entered their office. Ramo immediately snapped to attention.
Captain Delbray stocking feet franticly slid across the slick hardwood in search of their respective shoes.
She knocked one away and couldn't find the other so she stood in her stocking feet. The Lieutenant
Colonel couldn't see the Captain's feet behind her desk but noted the Captain seemed to be taller the
last time they met.
"I'd like to schedule the walkthrough of the grounds and the reception area for the Change of Command
Ceremony next week", said the Lieutenant Colonel.
"Yes Ma'am", replied the Captain.
Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri left their office as quickly as she appeared. Captain Delbray was relieved
that she was not caught not wearing her shoes. As Captain Delbray sat down she fished for her shoe
under her desk with her stocking foot. Finding it she stretched to slip it back on but only succeeded in
kicking it out from under her desk. Sergeant Ramo was amused at the Captains situation but hid her
"I have to keep my shoes on", she muttered to herself.
Without acknowledging the obvious situation to Ramo, Delbray walked in front of her desk wearing only
"Ramo, get Walter Reed on the phone and transfer the call to my desk", ordered Delbray.
As Ramo began to dial and Delbray picked up her shoe and pulled it on her foot.
At Walter Reed the burning pain shot through Connie Kelsey's foot during rehab. She immediately
dropped to the floor and pulled off her sneaker and began rubbing her socked foot. The physical
therapist stooped beside her and gently took her foot in his hands. He firmly pressed his thumb into the
supple arch of her foot and slid it up towards her toes. He watched the pained expression on Connie's
turn to relief.
"Thank you Kevin", said Connie. "Can you hold my foot all the time"?
"I would if I could", replied Kevin. "Here give me your hand. Let me show you how to do it".
Kevin's large hand caressed Connie's hand and foot as her explained how to massage her foot.
After a few moments Kevin inquired "Are you ready for your shoe now"?
"No, that shoe is staying off the rest of the day", said Connie.
Kevin looked at Connie with mock disapproval. "What kind of a physical therapist would I be if I let the
patient tell me what to do"?
He picked up Connie's shoe and tenderly replaced on Connie's toes as if he were Prince Charming and
she was Cinderella. He used his index finger to shoe horn the heel of the shoe on to Connie's foot.
Retying it he helped Connie up and they continued their session.
The foot massage became a regular thing after each rehab session with Kevin. Kevin would help Connie
into a chair, sit in an opposing chair and take Connie's foot into his lap. He 'd carefully untie and remove
her shoe and then begin his gentle but firm massaging.
At the beginning of the following week, Captain Delbray and Sergeant Ramo stood in front of the empty
reviewing stand; they awaited Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri. As they waited Delbray started slipping her
feet in and out of her shoes. She would alternate feet. After she flexed and stretched the toes of her
right foot, she would slip foot back into the shoe. Then a few moments later she would slip off her left
shoe, then it would be back to the right foot. Each time her foot would linger a little longer out of its
shoe. There would be slight scuffing sound or little clop each time a foot found its freedom. Sergeant
Ramo heard these noise and began staring at the Captain's feet. The Captain had just slipped her right
foot out of its shoe and pushed her stocking toes into the ground when she glanced to the right and saw
Ramo's gaze cast downward towards her stocking foot. Quickly the Captain slipped her foot completely
into its shoe at the same Ramo noticed the Captain had caught her staring and her foot. Both women
now looked straight ahead silently knowing the awkward situation that had just experienced.
After a few moments the Captain spoke, "Where did you arrange the office space for Donatiri for her
"General Stroom is at the Pentagon for the next two days and he said the Lieutenant Colonel could use
his office Ma'am", replied Ramo.
"Very good", replied the Captain.
Ramo pointed to a car driving towards them, "I believe that is the Lieutenant Colonel's car Ma'am.
Captain Delbray and Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri exchanged a terse level eye to eye greeting; Delbray
had thought the Lieutenant Colonel was shorter than her. Donatiri immediately started her inspection of
the grounds. Delbray was surprised at how quickly the Lieutenant Colonel walked. The Captain's heels
would slip out of her shoes as she walked and her toes were getting sore. Keeping up with Donatiri and
the Sergeant was beginning to be a problem. Delbray glanced down at the Lieutenant Colonel's feet to
see if she and any problems. All she saw was quick purposeful steps in heels that seemed higher than
The Lieutenant Colonel conducted her inspection silently as she walked. Amy was beginning to feel a
blister forming on her heel then suddenly her sultry stocking toes felt cool ground; she had stepped out
of her shoe. It was a moment of indecision, continue in stride with the Lieutenant Colonel or pause to
retrieve her shoe. The Captain fell behind the Sergeant and Lieutenant Colonel. At first, she tried to
scoop the shoe up with her stocking foot but the Sergeant and Lieutenant Colonel were moving away
quickly. She picked up the shoe with her hand then scurried in one shoe to catch up at the same time
trying to pull her shoe back on her foot.
The Lieutenant Colonel looked back at the hopping Captain Delbray with a silent look of disapproval that
reminded Amy of when she was in Catholic School when she was playfully twirling her loafers in front of
her desk. One of her loafers spun away out of reach and hit the nun's foot. It was the look of the nun.
At the end of the inspection, Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri spoke to Captain Delbray.
"I don't like the position of the podium and dais. I want you to stand behind the podium while I walk
around the grounds to check lines of sight. Sergeant..."
"Yes Ma'am", replied Ramo.
"I want you to stoop in front of the podium facing me and film me with your phone walking around the
grounds. I will be filming you as I walk. We'll synchronize the start of our filming. I want to coordinate
the lines of sight from the podium and the other points on the ground."
With Captain Delbray standing behind the podium and Sergeant Ramo stooped in front of it, the filming
started. Stooping as she did caused Ramo's heels to pop out of her shoes.
Captain Delbray placed her hands on the podium and immediately slipped right foot out of its shoe and
stepped on top of her pump. She then did the same with her left foot. Her sore toes flexed and
stretched as she stood on top of her shoes. She was no longer feeling potential blisters on her heels.
The Lieutenant Colonel walked purposefully and recorded intently. She recorded the change of height
in the Captain when the Captain stepped off her right shoe. With most of her weight on her right foot
the Captain lifted her left foot up in the air and behind her. Her left knee was now bent at a right angle
as her left foot cooled in the air. The Lieutenant Colonel was now at a viewing angle that allowed her
camera to capture Captains left stocking foot rotating in the air.
The Captain soon put her left foot flat on the ground and shifted most of her weight on it. Picking up
her right foot she slipped it halfway back into its shoe. The she slipped it back out and let her toes tickle
the heel cup of her pump. The toe of her shoe began to bob up and down and the shoe twirled
backwards on its heel then fell on its side behind the toes of her stocking foot. Looking at the Lieutenant
Colonel as she reversed the direction of her walk Amy blindly tried to reposition her shoe with her toes.
Her shoe just slid around on the smooth wood of the dais and soon her toes couldn't feel her shoe. She
stretched her foot further back and touched her shoe but the shoe slid further away. Sweeping her foot
with in a wide arc to locate her shoe behind her on succeeded in knocking off of the dais. It was another
"Kodak" moment for the Lieutenant Colonel's camera.
After the inspection the Lieutenant Colonel took a few moments to walk around General Stroom's
office. She was immediately struck by the plush thickly padded carpet. Max looked at the pictures and
awards on his walls. She came to the conclusion that Stroom was a weak man she could dominate.
Circling behind his desk in front of his executive chair she slipped her left shoe off brushed her nylon
covered toes against the carpet. Bending her knee, she laid the top of her stocking foot on the seat of
the General's chair. Pulling the chair slightly forward with her foot she sat down on top of her leg. Her
left ankle was now resting under her right knee. She then dug the heel of her right shoe into the carpet
and used her leg to pull herself closer to the desk and pop her heel out of its shoe. A few moments after
that her right foot was resting flat on the carpet. She began rubbing the toes of her left foot with her
right hand. Closing her eyes, she began slide her right foot back and forth on the carpet; it felt good to
be out of her shoes. After a few moments of relaxing bliss Max opened her eyes and reached down to
gather her shoes to place them neatly together under the desk. She then opened her bag pulled out
laptop and began to her laptop and began to work.
Before looking at the videos she and Ramo took Donatiri looked up Delbray's service records. They were
the records of a very capable officer. After that she looked at the videos of Delbray behind the podium
bobbing up and down with flailing stocking feet. The images and service record were incongruous in
"Captain Delbray reporting as ordered Ma'am", said Amy as she stood at attention in the doorway
saluting the Lieutenant Colonel.
Max lifted her hand from her foot and casually returned the salute while staying seated. She gestured
towards a chair in front of the desk indicating that the Captain should sit.
Captain Delbray sat down and almost immediately slipped her shoes off silently and began rubbing her
stocking feet quietly on the carpet.
The Lieutenant Colonel returned to massaging her toes with her right hand.
"I'm going to reprimand you", said Max.
Delbray stiffened her posture.
The Lieutenant Colonel continued, "An officer has to set an example and that includes a sharp uniform
appearance. What is with you and your shoes. It's unbecoming for you to be traipsing around in your
stocking feet. You were hopping on one foot trying to pull your shoe on as we were walking the
Amy carefully felt for her shoes with her toes making sure she kept her upper body still and her gaze
towards the Lieutenant Colonel. The Lieutenant Colonel began adjusting the toe seam of her stocking.
"When I was filming you behind the podium you were getting shorter and taller every time you slipped
your shoes on and off", said Donatiri, "If you thought you were being discreet you were not. I could
easily see your stocking foot waving around in the air like flag. You even kicked your shoe off the dais. If
you were in front of troops what kind of example would that set? If you were in front of a superior
officer, and you were, what do you think that says about you? It says you are an unprofessional,
undisciplined soldier. I'm doing you a favor by not putting this reprimand in writing. Consider this your
first warning but if I see you stocking footed again, I will write you up. I will send you my
recommendations for the COC in writing tomorrow. Dismissed"!
Timing worked in the Captain's favor as she had slipped her feet completely back into her shoes as the
Lieutenant Colonel dismissed her. She stood saluted and said "Thank you Ma'am". Then she left.
After the Captain left, the Lieutenant Colonel pulled her left leg out from under her and pushed both
stocking feet across the carpet to stretch out her legs. She smiled smugly to herself as she thought of
Ramo was driving Delbray to Walter Reed. Delbray sat in the passenger's seat with her legs crossed at
the knees. Her shoe was dangling from her toes. It would sway with every road pump. The reprimand
from Donatiri weighed on her mind. After a bumpy curve her shoe fell off her toes; Delbray thought of
Kevin was massaging Connie's foot at one of their regular post PT sessions when Captain Delbray and
Sergeant Ramo approached Connie and Kevin. Connie was dressed in a camo T-shirt, camo shorts and
thin knee hi camo compression socks.
"As you were", said Captain so Kelsey would not rise to attention. "I'm Captain Delbray and this is
Sergeant Ramo. We're here to inform you that you will be receiving the Distinguished Service Cross and
Purple Heart. Amy awaited Connie's reaction and Ramo watched how Kevin was rubbing Connie's foot.
"I heard rumors", replied Connie with a subtle annoyed tone. "I don't think I deserve it. Well maybe the
The Captain lifted the heel of her foot out of its shoe and felt cooling air on her sweaty arch which
alerted her to what she had unconsciously done. Quickly slipping her foot back into her shoe she
started explaining why Ramo and her were here.
"Sergeant Ramo and I are in the Public Relations office and we will accompany and take care of your
needs as you go through your itinerary before, after and during your medal ceremony.".
"How much of an itinerary do I have", asked Connie with a little more bothered agitation. "I just want to
get home to my family".
Ramo watched as Kevin pushed his thumb around in a circle at the base of the ball of Connie's foot; his
touch was firm. Connie's seemed to relax.
Delbray noticed that Connie seemed to get a little less agitated and a bit more at ease.
"I understand", said Delbray with added empathy. "Currently your itinerary is three days but I think we
can cut it down to two days for you".
Ramo stopped studying Connie's foot because she knew the itinerary was only two days.
"We'll get you back to your family as quick as we can", said Delbray. "We understand your family can't
travel to the ceremony due to circumstances but the awarding of the DSC is a great honor that the Army
does not want to deprive you of in the least. You deserve the Army's respect and honor".
Connie became less bothered.
"The hospital says you have another week of rehab before they release you", Captain Delbray
continued. "Ramo and I will finalize your itinerary and brief you. We will make every effort to schedule
the ceremony as quick as possible and condense it as much as we can so you can get you home to see
After they concluded meeting with Connie, Ramo began driving the Captain and herself back to base.
Delbray quietly kicked her shoes off onto the floorboard. If she weren't on duty and with Ramo she
would probably recline her seat and put her stocking feet on the dashboard perhaps even press her toes
into the windshield or slip her toes out of the window to enjoy a cooling breeze. Instead she kept her
feet on the floor confident Ramo couldn't see them. She was right but Ramo could see her empty
"I know the Itinerary is for two days", said Captain Delbray. "I told Kelsey it was three days so when if
we complete it in two days it wouldn't seem as bad to her".
"Yes Ma'am", replied Ramo.
"I want you to see if we can shorten the itinerary to one day and perhaps, we can move it forward", said
Delbray. "Kelsey has done a lot for our country and we need to do a lot for her".
"Understood Ma'am", replied Ramo, "but if we move up the date won't that effect the Change of
"I'll have to work that issue", replied the Captain. "Originally General Stroom wanted the medal award
before the COC but General Cruste wanted it after the COC so he could run the award ceremony. The
itinerary I gave you came mostly front Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri. I have to talk to Donatiri".
After the long day Amy entered her apartment and immediately kicked off her pumps and left them by
the door and dialed her phone. She shuffled to the kitchen in her stocking feet and got a beer. Standing
by the counter she popped open the beer and pressed her toes into the floor to crack them. She took a
big sip and dialed her phone. "Hey Romeo".
"Bradley", answered Major Moore.
"I talked to Kelsey today", said Captain Delbray as she started walking towards her couch. "She really
wants to get back home to her family as quickly as possible. So, if we moved the Medal Ceremony up a
week earlier would General Tapton have a problem"?
"I think General Tapton would love it if the ceremony were moved up a week", replied Moore.
Amy plopped down into her couch and swung her stocking feet up on the ottoman. She crossed her
ankles and started rubbing her feet together.
"General Stroom wouldn't mind either, if the ceremony were moved up" said Amy.
"Yeah, I think Stroom and Tapton were just being courteous to General Cruste", replied Moore.
"He's the lowest ranked General", exclaimed the Captain, "Tapton has four stars and Stroom is a
Lieutenant General. Cruste is just a Brigadier. Tapton could order Cruste to move the medal ceremony
before his COC ceremony".
"Yeah, but I think Stroom and Tapton think they're being nice to the lower ranks", replied Moore. "I
think your best bet to change the ceremony is to get Donatiri to convince Cruste to change the
Amy listened to the rustle of nylon as her feet rubbed together. She considered what Romeo had said.
"I thought I would have to talk with Donatiri", admitted Amy. I don't think Donatiri likes or respects me",
"I think you're right", said Moore.
Amy wanted to ask Romeo to ask Tapton to order Cruste to change the ceremony. Romeo wanted Amy
to change the ceremony herself because he had recommended her to General Tapton and it would
better for both of them if she did.
Before Amy spoke, she took a long look at her stocking feet. "Hey Romeo, do you want another pair of
pantyhose? A pair that I'm sure you'd enjoy more than the pair of mine you already have. C'mon over so
we can strategize and ..."
Captain Delbray's feet hurt; her toes were being pinched. She wanted this feeling. Whenever she would
unconsciously slip her feet out of her shoes and Donatiri would always notice. The pain made her
conscious of her feet of her feet and the tightness of her shoes made them difficult to casually slip out
her feet. Fortunately, the pain was just a little annoyance and she didn't have to change her walk in any
Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri stood at the parade ground watching the band march. She had ordered a
dress rehearsal for the parade scheduled for the medal ceremony. Delbray walked briskly towards the
Donatiri being very conscious of her posture, gait and feet. She saluted and then stood next to the
Lieutenant Colonel and watched the parade with her.
As the parade passed an Honor Guard member lost her pump. With one shoe on and one shoe off she
continued to march with no limp. It was only her stocking toes touching the ground as she kept her
stocking foot in the same position it would have been in as if she were wearing the shoe.
"It looks like she lost a shoe Ma'am", said Delbray subtly hoping Donatiri would realize shoe problems
could happen to anyone.
The band marched over the shoe without touching it.
"Yes but she didn't break stride, she remained disciplined, she didn't stop and start hopping on one foot
to put her shoe back on", Donatiri bitingly replied.
"Yes Ma'am", replied Delbray slightly biting her lip.
"Your demeanor and discipline are an issue with me", said Donatiri.
Delbray tried to flex her toes in her tight shoes as she thought how well her conversation with the
Lieutenant Colonel was starting. "Yes Ma'am".
"So, what brings you here", asked Donatiri?
"I would like you and General Cruste to consider moving the medal ceremony to the day before the
COC", Delbray started, "Kelsey's family can't travel to the medal ceremony because of a medical
situation and Kelsey wants to get home as soon as possible. She'll be discharged from the hospital
tomorrow and we can have the medal ceremony the day after and then she could leave for home.
General Tapton and General Stroom are already on board with this plan".
"Those Generals haven't talked to General Cruste and I know General Cruste wants the ceremony when
he's the CO", said Donatiri. "If Kelsey needs to be with her family, we can fly her out and then fly her
back for the medal ceremony".
"With all due respect Ma'am", said Delbray, "depending on the outcome of an evolving medical
situation there is no guarantee that Kelsey would or could come back. She is a legitimate military hero
and we should make accommodations".
Delbray challenged her. Donatiri turned slightly to look at Delbray. She eyed her up and down. Her
posture was erect, her uniform impeccable and her feet tight in her shoes. There was an improvement.
Donatiri thought she might have misjudged Delbray.
"That's a good point Delbray that I hadn't thought of", said Donatiri, I'll consider bringing it to the
"Thank you, Ma'am,", replied Delbray.
Corporal Heftis saw an empty shoe on the tarmac; he ran to retrieved it. At the end of the parade
rehearsal the Honor Guard looked at her big toe poking out of dirty stockings; she never got back her
Max was angered that she had a run in her pantyhose but she walked down the hall like she owned it.
There would be no embarrassment if anyone saw it. There was just a quick paced purposeful walk
towards her office. Once in her office she immediately shut and locked her door kicked off her shoes.
She stripped off her pantyhose with disdain. Max stood barefoot with her hose balled up in her hand.
Thinking for a few moments she reached up her skirt and pulled off her panties. Bunching her panties
together with her hose. She walked behind her desk, open her drawer and pulled out a new pair of
pantyhose she kept in a Ziploc bag. While her panties and hose were still warm, she stuffed them into
the empty bag and resealed it tightly. Then she sat down and unfurled the new pantyhose. Carefully
gathering one leg of the pantyhose up she pulled it over her black painted toes. Max was limber enough
to extend her leg and point it upward towards the ceiling while she pulled the hose over her knee and
up her thigh. She repeated the procedure with the other leg and then stood up to do the final
adjustments under her skirt. Walking in her stocking feet around her desk she picked her shoes then
walked to the file cabinet. Bending over to open the bottom drawer she put her shoes into the drawer
and then pulled another pair of shoes with a much higher heel that exceeded regulations. Placing the
shoes on the floor she again reached into the drawer and pulled out her riding crop. Max stood and
stepped into her shoes. She slapped the side her leg with the riding crop; she felt very powerful.
"Hello sir", Max said into the phone. "I think we should meet in the 'skiff' I have something of the most
secure nature to give you".
She put her soiled pantyhose and panties in a Top Secret envelop.
The Lieutenant Colonel arrived 'skiff' first. Sitting at the head of the table she put her package on top of
the table crossed her legs and pushed the heel of her shoe off of her foot with her riding crop. The shoe
immediately swung onto the tips of her toes. It was dangling on her foot precariously which was a
situation she did not want so she reached and pulled her shoe more securely on her foot. The heel of
her foot barely peaked above the heel of her shoe now.
General Cruste closed the door of the secure communication and saw Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri sitting
at the head of the table with her legs crossed and her shoe askew in her foot waving the Top-Secret
package. The general immediately dropped to his hands and knees and began crawling towards
Donatiri kicked off her shoe and General Cruste froze like Buridan's ass.
"What do you want slave", asked Donatiri thrusting he stocking towards the General. "The shoe, my
foot, or the package"?
The General made a move towards her foot. Donatiri forcibly pushed the Generals face away with her
stocking foot. Cruste stuck his tongue out to lick the arch of Donatiri's foot but she quickly withdrew her
foot before he could. Then she slapped Cruste sharply on the shoulder with her riding crop.
"I need something from you first", Donatiri sternly admonished. Her tone then softened and she said
"Then I'll give you all the pleasure you desire".
Back in his office, General Cruste called General Tapton on the phone. At the end of the conversation
Cruste said, "After all she is a hero and the Army should make concessions so I want confirm that you
have no issues moving the medal ceremony up. Thank you, Sir,".
General Cruste placed the Top-Secret package in his bag and turned to Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri who
was standing at attention in front of his desk.
"Dismissed", he said.
Sergeant Ramo sat at her desk looking at Captain Delbray's feet protruding out from under her desk.
The Captain's ankles were crossed as she was dangling one shoe off her toes from the shoe's heel cup.
She wondered how the captain got her shoe backwards.
The Captain's phone rang and the caller ID flashed Donatiri. Delbray pulled her feet back under her desk
but her shoe remained in front of her desk.
After hanging up the phone the Captain told Ramo that the medal ceremony was moved successfully.
Her stocking foot then peeked from under her desk and began vainly groping for her shoe.
"To your left Ma'am", Ramo blurted surprising herself as much as the Captain.
The Sergeant and the Captain shared another awkward moment of silence as Amy moved her foot to
her left and toes curled into her shoe to drag it back under the desk.
Connie Kelsey sat in the chair next to her hospital bed in her Class B uniform. She used her hands to lift
her dead leg and cross it over her other knee. Reaching down she pulled off her pump and looked at her
stocking foot. The scar was almost invisible which was from the benefit of a razor-sharp piece of searing
hot shrapnel that sliced the soft skin of her foot cleanly. It left her foot looking perfect but it couldn't
feel a thing. Normally a pump would be pinching her toes but her toes just remained numb. Persistent
permanent paresthesia was what the doctor called it. Connie put her shoe in her lap and began to
massage her foot.
Doctor Zappato stopped at the nurse's station to look at Connie Kelsey's medical records. She was
dressed in a white lab coat, pink scrubs, pink socks and white clogs. As she studied the details of
Connie's she slipped her foot out of its clog and began to twirl it around with her toes. Soon she stopped
and rested her stocking foot on top of her other foot. Finishing her perusal, she fished around for her
clog with her foot and then looked down to find it. Once she slipped her foot back into it, she noticed a
nurse smiling at her.
She smiled back and said, "Lost my shoe"
Dr Zappato entered Connie's and immediately hit the hand sanitizer dispenser and rubbed her hands
together scrupulously. She then grabbed a pair of latex gloves form the box and addressed Connie as
she pulled them on her hands.
"How is the foot today", she inquired.
"About the same, all pins and needles", Connie said sadly.
The doctor pulled over a stool and sat down in front of Connie.
"Let me take a look", said the doctor.
"Do I need to remove the pantyhose", asked Connie?
"No, you don't have to, your hose are sheer enough", she replied as she carefully placed Connie's right
foot in her lap.
The doctor crossed her ankles and her clog slid off of her foot almost immediately landing with a thud.
Hearing the thud Connie looked down at the doctors stocking foot and watched her toes wag.
The doctor gently fondled Connie's foot as she assessed it.
"The wound on your foot has really healed well there is hardly any scar. Is your foot mostly numb", the
Connie continued to look at the doctors stocking foot as her wagging toes began to brush against her
empty clog. The clog was rotating slightly and moving a little further away from the doctor's toes.
Connie wished her foot could move so easily and be so carefree. Connie thought the doctor wasn't even
aware of what her foot was doing but Connie was constantly aware of her numb foot.
"Yes", Connie forlornly said.
"Let's do some sharp dull testing", said the doctor.
It was a drill Connie knew well. The doctor was going to stick her foot with either the sharp or dull end
of a tool and Connie would tell the doctor what she felt Everything felt dull to Connie but Connie noticed
that the doctor's toes would curl at certain times. The next time the doctor's toes curled Connie said
"Sharp" asked the doctor excitedly?
"No dull", admitted Connie.
"It was sharp", said the doctor. "Why did you say sharp when you felt dull"?
"I guessed", said Connie. "I was looking at your foot and you would curl your toes sometimes. I guessed
you were jabbing my foot with something sharp whenever you curled toes"
The doctor looked down at her foot and felt embarrassed. She stretched her foot back and slipped it
back into its clog.
"I'm sorry" she said.
"Will my foot get any better", asked Connie. "Will I always need my cane"?
The doctor sighed.
"I don't want to give you false hope. The wound in your upper thigh did damage to your sciatic nerve. A
nerve injury like that is hard to predict. Over time there is the possibility things will improve but more
likely you will adjust to the symptoms over time. It may not be as bad as it is today but I doubt you'll
have one hundred percent recovery".
The doctor removed Connie's foot from her lap and let it dangle in its original position. Connie looked at
"I have beautiful looking legs don't I"?
"You're one of the most beautiful women I seen", the doctor said with a warm smile. "Can I help you
with your shoe"?
"Thank you", said Connie as she handed the doctor her shoe.
Once more the doctor gently held Connie's foot as she slowly and tenderly guided it into its shoe.
"I'm looking forward to go home", said Connie.
"Is your family here", asked the doctor?
"No", replied Connie, "My father can't travel for health reason and my mother and brother can't leave
him now. I just want to fly home to be with them".
"Unfortunately, you can't leave for another day or two. I'll discharge you today but I think you have stay
around because the Army wants to give you a medal", explained the doctor.
"I know. Receiving a medal and being honored as hero makes me feel bad.", said Connie, "It depresses
"Have you talked to the psychologist about your depression", asked the Doctor "You're not on an
"We've talked", it's not clinical", said Connie "I'll feel better after the ceremony. I'll get on with my life
after they give me this medal. It's just a couple of days of stupidity I have to go through before I can go
home and it's not like this medal or being a hero will make feel any better about what happened that
night. I'm hoping this Captain Delbray is able to move the ceremony up sooner and make it shorter".
The doctor put her hand on Connie's numb knee. "You're strong woman".
After giving Kelsey the good news about the medal ceremony Ramo and Delbray made arrangements for
Kelsey to stay at a hotel nearby the base and have a new Class A and Class B uniforms delivered to her.
The hotel sent a tailor to have the uniforms fitted.
Despite the good news Connie still felt bad physically and mentally. She pulled her old Class B uniform
skirt over her pantyhosed legs and tucked her blouse into it. Grabbing her cane and beret she limped to
the mirror in her stocking feet where she put on her beret. Connie took a moment to admire her
reflection in the mirror and smiled. She definitely looked better than she felt. All she needed was shoes
and she'd be ready to meet the Captain and Sergeant lunch to go over the itinerary.
Delbray gave a copy of the itinerary to Kelsey. As she read it Connie slipped her right shoe off under the
table to get a little more comfortable.
0900 - 0945 Medal Ceremony
1000-1030 Press Conference
1415-1530 Speech to Students
1815 Flight Home
"On award day we'll arrive at 0700", said Delbray, "That should be plenty of time to have a little
breakfast and help you get dressed. I hear you have been fitted for a new uniform that should be
delivered to you later today. We'll drive you to base and at 0900 the ceremony will begin. You should
be prepared to make a few remarks".
Ramo felt something brush against her foot but she ignored it.
The Captain continued, "There is a press brief conference scheduled to start at 1000. It will be with local
news and last about a half hour. There is a little break after that then we'll get you to a parade that
starts at 1115. You be driven in a car so people can see you".
Ramo felt something on her foot again but this time it lingered a little longer. She moved her foot away.
"After the parade", the Captain continued, "There is a luncheon at 1230 where you be the guest of
honor. There will be a short receiving line for you to greet the quests. It will mostly be brass. Depending
on how you feel, you can stand or we can have a chair for you".
Again, Ramo felt something on her foot. This time she looked down and saw Connie's stocking foot
rubbing her foot.
"Excuse me Ma'am", said Ramo, "Do you know you are rubbing my foot"?
"Oh, I'm so embarrassed", said Connie.
Captain Delbray looked under the table and saw Connie's stocking foot on top of Ramo's foot.
Connie continued," I took my shoe off and was trying put it back on, but my foot is completely numb
and I can't feel anything. I'm so sorry. My foot is a useless nub until I get searing pain shooting through
"Her shoe is over there", said the Captain pointing under the table then she asked. "What exactly is
your injury Connie"?
Ramo reached for Connie's shoe and noticed it was the same size has her shoe.
"I took shrapnel in my upper leg and foot", explained Connie. "The shrapnel shredded my sciatic nerve.
Most of the time my leg is dead numb but sometimes I get shooting pain through my foot. It often
doesn't last too long and then my leg and foot return to numb. The pain happens more when I'm
wearing a shoe so a lot of the time, I like to slip my shoe off to prevent the pain from happening. I'm
glad these new dress army uniforms require pumps and pantyhose. Support hose seem to help with the
pain and pumps much easier slip off discreetly than an army boot. Unfortunately, it's much harder for
me to slip my shoe on discreetly.
Connie smiled at Ramo. Ramo returned more subtle smile.
"I have your shoe I can slip it on for you" said Ramo.
"Thank you", replied Connie.
Ramo brought Connie's foot in her lap and slipped her shoe on her foot. Connie grimaced.
Ramo instantly pulled off her shoe and dropped it to begin massaging Connie's foot just like she
"Oh, that feels good", said Connie. "You do that just like Kevin".
Delbray picked up Connie's shoe and held it.
After the pain subsided Ramo returned Connie's foot to the floor. Delbray gave Connie her shoe and
Connie dropped in the floor close to her stocking foot.
"Thank you, Ma'am,", Connie said to Delbray, "but I think I'll leave it off for now".
"Did the physical therapy do anything to help your leg", asked Delbray with curious concern?
"It really didn't do much for the nerve sensation", Connie began to explain. "It primarily built the
strength of my leg back to normal, probably more than normal at this point, and it got accustomed to
maneuvering with a dead leg and a cane. The cane is more for balance than anything else".
"Hmm", uttered Delbray, "Shall we continue with the itinerary"
Kelsey nodded affirmatively and placed her hands under the knee of her dead leg. Picking her leg up she
crossed over her left knee. Her numb foot brushed against Ramo's leg. Ramo just ignored Connie's
"After the luncheon", began Delbray, "at 1415 we have a speech scheduled with local students and a
brief Q&A. It is a chance for them to hear from real hero. It's a chance for you to tell your story to
inspire them. There will be Army recruiters there too. Then at 1815 we'll have you on your flight home".
Connie Kelsey stood at attention next to General Tapton as he spoke at the podium.
"The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to
a member of the United States Army. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism. Warrant officer Connie
Kelsey is awarded this honor for such heroism. She was selected for an important special ops mission
because of her proven superior skills as a helicopter pilot and her impeccable service record. Her
mission was to shuttle an MH-6 attack helicopter to forward special operations unit in pursuit of a band
of insurgents. At the last moment Colonel Nadress needed to be flown to the forward base. As an
unexpected storm blew in the helicopter was forced to land for the night. During that night they took
fire from the said band of insurgents. During that engagement Warrant Officer Kelsey saved the life of
Colonel Nadress by shielding him from an RPG by throwing her body on top of the Colonel. Both were
wounded in the explosion. With extraordinary courage and while wounded Warrant Officer Kelsey
dragged Colonel Nadress to the helicopter through withering gunfire. She managed to get the
helicopter off the ground, spotted the insurgents chased them down and neutralized the band with
missile fire. Bleeding from her wounds, she flew the helicopter back to base where both of them could
recover. We may never know how many more lives Warrant Officer Kelsey may have saved by
neutralizing the insurgents and allowing Colonel Nadress to return to duty. The definition of
extraordinary includes risking your life for another, continuing to perform your duties
in the most untenable of situations, and bring successful closure of a difficult operation. In short it is
above and beyond the call of duty. As from the previous description of events it is clear that Warrant
Officer Kelsey has earned the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart."
By the time General Tapton finished Connie's foot was aching but she continued to proudly stand at
General pinned the medals on Connie's uniform and invited her to speak.
Connie tentatively stepped to the podium and adjusted the microphone with her left hand while her
right hand firmly grasped her cane. Uncomfortable with public speaking and uncomfortable with her
foot Connie's words were surprisingly brief.
"Thank you. I do not think I deserve the honor I just accepted. I do not think I did anything more than
any other soldier would do. I did what the Army trained me to do, so I accept this medal for the Army.
Thank you again".
After a few moments there was warm applause from the audience; it took time for the audience to
realize she was finished.
Ramo noticed Kelsey was in discomfort so she rose to help her.
"I think I need the wheel chair", Kelsey whispered to Ramo, "and can you help me with my shoe"?
Ramo supported Kelsey as they both took a few steps to the wheel chair.
After she helped Kelsey into the chair, she removed her shoe and whispered to her. "I'll massage
your foot after we get away from the crowd".
Delbray picked up Kelsey's shoe and put it in her bag next to a more comfortable pair of her shoes she
carried in case the tight shoes she was wearing got too uncomfortable.
Prior to the press conference Ramo, Kelsey, and Delbray were able to duck into a private area where
Ramo was able to ease Kelsey's foot pain. Ramo had a firm delicate touch with her thumbs and she
knew precisely where to press and knead Kelsey's arch.
"You're a Godsend Shelbie", said Connie, "that feels much better. It feels numb now".
Ramo carefully lowered Kelsey's foot to the foot rest. She studied its placement briefly and marveled
how beautiful, peaceful and pristine Kelsey's stocking foot looked. It belied the pain she knew Connie
"Should I put your shoe on Ma'am", asked Ramo?
"I'd rather not wear my shoe", said Connie. Connie then turned towards Delbray asked "Do I need my
shoe on for the interview"?
"No", replied Delbray.
Derrick Mupps and Teri Senosho were the news crew sent to interview Kelsey. Derrick was the
cameraman Teri was the reporter. Derrick always liked working with Teri as Teri enjoyed being shoeless
and Derrick enjoyed women's feet. He would secretly record Teri's stocking and bare feet during and in
between news stories. The public would rarely see Teri shoeless on air, but Derrick kept plenty of private
When Ramo and Delbray wheeled Connie in for the interview Derrick could not believe Connie was
wearing only one shoe and that her shoeless foot was so beautiful. He immediately focused his camera
on Connie's foot as they moved her chair into position. Delbray slipped Teri a piece of paper of topics
not to cover with Connie. As Teri read the note, she started dangling her shoe. Derrick was so
enthralled, with Connie's foot that he didn't notice. He hoped that Teri would ask Connie about her foot
so he had an excuse to shoot a close up of it. Teri pulled her dangling shoe back onto her foot and
started the interview.
Happily, for Derrick, Connie's foot was the first thing Teri asked about as the interview started. Soon
Teri threw off her high heel and exclaimed "Let's be one shoe sisters then".
The gesture put Connie at ease and a great interview followed.
Delbray was pleased at how the interview was proceeding even though her toes were beginning to hurt.
Delbray, Ramo, and Kelsey arrived at the parade rally point. The Honor Guard was assembled in front of
the band. Behind the band was a military flatbed truck carrying an MH-6 Little Bird Killer Egg, the
helicopter type Kelsey flew on the heroic mission. The last vehicle was a Humvee with a roof hatch.
"We'll be in the Humvee", Delbray said to Kelsey, "Can you stand up through the roof hatch with your
"My foot is hurting", I don't think I can stand", said Kelsey.
"How do you feel about sitting on the hatch with your legs dangling into the Humvee", asked Delbray?
Ramo and I can sit by your legs to support you".
"I think I could do that", replied Connie.
Ramo and Delbray started helping Kelsey into the Humvee.
Corporal Heftis was around the rally point and he noticed three shoes were in Captain Delbray's open
bag. There were two right shoes and one left shoe; he took the smaller right shoe.
Once Kelsey was sitting on the roof of the Humvee and her legs were dangling into the car Ramo and
Delbray got into the opposite sides of the Hummer. Ramo sat by Kelsey's right leg and Delbray sat by
Once they were situated Kelsey said, "Shelbie".
"Yes Ma'am" she replied.
"Can you hold on to my foot and leg firmly", asked Kelsey, "It's completely numb and I would feel much
safer if I knew you were holding it".
"Yes Ma'am" she replied.
The heel of Kelsey's left pump was digging into Captain Delbray's shoulder.
"Connie", said the Captain, "Can I remove your other shoe".
"Thank you, Ma'am,", replied Kelsey.
Delbray removed Kelsey's shoe and placed it in her bag not noticing that Connie's other shoe had been
During the parade Ramo hugged Kelsey's right leg tightly. Her right leg barely moved for the entire
parade. Kelsey's left leg was much more active trying different positions to brace herself. Her left foot
stomped on Delbray's shoulder, fondled Delbray's breast, and her toes would tickle Delbray's nose.
Delbray's thoughts wandered as she began to question her career choices.
Lieutenant Colonel Donatiri sat immediately to the left of General Cruste in the reviewing stand to
watch the parade. The reviewing stand was basically a small decorated temporary bleacher.
Cruste spoke quietly to Donatiri.
"I scuffed the toe of my left shoe stepping in to the stand.", he said. "I want you to buff the scuff out
with your stocking foot while we watch the parade".
Donatiri took that statement as an order and replied, "Yes Sir".
Subtly scanning her surroundings with her eyes and after accessing the situation, Donatiri surreptitiously
pushed her right shoe off with her left foot. Positioning her empty shoe carefully with her stocking foot,
she briefly touched the bleacher board with her toes as she slyly glanced down to look at the General's
shoe. She saw the scuff mark. Darting her eyes around one last time she picked her toes off the bleacher
board and placed them on the General's foot. Her slippery nylons glided effortlessly over the smooth
polished leather of the General's shoe. Donatiri curled her toes over the scuff mark; she felt its
roughness through her stockings. Her toes immediately went to work. As she rubbed, she constantly
kept aware of her surroundings. She could feel the mark getting smoother.
General Tapton's eyes tracked the parade vehicle. As it passed by, he turned his head towards General
Cruste. Donatiri, being alert, caught this motion and she quickly returned her stocking foot to the top of
her shoe. Cruste's situational awareness was a little behind Donatiri's. He jerked his foot suddenly
inadvertently kicking Donatiri's shoe out from under her foot. The shoe fell between the bleacher
boards onto the ground; it was completely out of reach. Donatiri quickly crossed her ankles trying to
hide her stocking foot from view.
At the end of the parade, Cruste left, telling Donatiri he would catch up with her at the luncheon.
Donatiri sat still with her ankles still crossed watching people leave the reviewing stand. She would
periodically glance between the bleachboards to find her shoe but she couldn't see it.
Corporal Heftis was walking away from the bleachers in the opposite direction of the crowd.
Beneath the bleachers, Donatiri stood disgustedly with her stocking foot on top of her shod foot. Her
shoe was nowhere to be found. She contemplated her next steps.
Delbray found herself in front of the reviewing stand. She realized she had lost Kelsey's shoe and was
backtracking to see if she could find it. Kelsey's shoe was nowhere to be found.
With one shoe on and one shoe off Donatiri walked out from under the bleachers only to be surprised
by the sight of Delbray. Delbray was equally surprised.
Delbray knew she would probably get in trouble but she couldn't resist to comment.
"I guess the shoe is off the other foot now", she said with a friendly smile.
The comment relaxed Donatiri and she found some humor in it.
"I have an extra pair of shoes with me", said Delbray before Donatiri could speak, "You can have them or
one if you need".
Donatiri realized she needed at least one shoe to attended the luncheon and she really didn't have a
way to get another shoe quickly. She wondered why Delbray was here but she figured Delbray was
wondering why she was here too. The less said the better she thought and maybe she could get out of
this situation with a little dignity.
"May I see the shoes", asked Donatiri.
Delbray reached into her bag and pulled out the shoes and showed them to the Lieutenant Colonel.
"May I have the right shoe", asked Donatiri.
Delbray gave Donatiri the right shoe. Donatiri examined it and put it on the ground next to her stocking
foot. Both Donatiri and Delbray could easily see there was more foot than shoe. After contemplating for
a few moments Donatiri put her foot into the shoe. She started wiggling her foot from side to side to try
to get the heel of her foot into the shoe. Delbray was wearing tighter shoes herself to keep her feet
from slipping out of her shoes, so she had a shoehorn with her. She pulled it out of her bag and silently
offered it to Donatiri. Donatiri took it and used it to wedge her foot entirely into the shoe. The two
women started walking towards the luncheon.
"I may have misjudged you Delbray", said Donatiri.
Just prior to the luncheon Delbray explained to Kelsey that she had lost her shoe and she apologized
"That's alright Ma'am", said Kelsey, "My foot feels better without the shoe on. It gives me an excuse to
sit in the wheel chair for the reception line and besides who would begrudge a wounded veteran with
her shoe off"?
Donatiri sat at the luncheon table to the immediate left of General Cruste; her toes were throbbing and
she could feel her foot swelling.
Cruste leaned towards Donatiri and said "It's about time you got here".
"Yes sir", she replied thinking it's your fault for kicking my shoe away.
"I still have a little scuff on my shoe", said Cruste, "I want you to start buffing again".
"Yes sir", she replied knowing that one day she would make him pay dearly; maybe she would ignore his
Knowing that if she removed her right shoe there was no chance of her getting back on gracefully, she
slipped off her left shoe and started experimenting with some awkward leg crossing to reach the
General's shoe with her left foot. At first, she tried crossing her left leg over her right knee and
stretching out her toes to touch the General's foot. She reached the scuff with the tips of her toes but
couldn't apply the needed pressure. Then she uncrossed her legs and crossed her right leg over her left
knee adjusted her hips. Slouching down a slight bit and bending ankle to the side allowed her stocking
foot to reach the scuff mark and allow buffing with the needed pressure. It was not a comfortable way
to sit but she got the mission done without anyone noticing and without losing another shoe.
After the luncheon Delbray, Ramo and Kelsey were able to take a break in a small suite adjacent to the
auditorium as the students assembled to listen Kelsey's speech.
Captain Delbray sat in the ante room and stretched her long legs with her ankles crossed. She lifted one
foot up in the air and pushed the heel of her pump off with the to toe of her other shoe. Amy flicked
her shoe a few times the curled het toes and let her shiny pump fall softly to the ground. She tried to
repeat the procedure with her other shoe but her damp toes and slippery nylons just slid frictionless
over the patent leather of her shoe. Frustrated she reached and yanked her shoe off and tossed away
with annoyance. Reaching down she began massaging her toes.
Ramo entered the room and said, "Ma'am Kelsey is crying".
Amy looked up and Ramo and saw the concern on her face. She looked down and grabbed the shoe
next to her foot and then saw how far away she had tossed her other shoe. There was no graceful way
to put on her shoe so she just stood in her stocking feet and walked towards the Sergeant
"Let's see what's going on Ramo".
Connie sat in the chair with her head buried in her hands sobbing.
"I don't deserve this. I don't deserve this", she kept repeating.
Amy sat beside her and touched her lightly on her shoulder. "You don't deserve what she asked gently"?
Ramo sat in front of Connie and carefully lifted her foot placing in her lap and began tenderly massaging
"I don't deserve the medal", said Connie. "It didn't happen like they said. I didn't happen like that at all
it's all a lie".
"Calm down Connie we are here. Calm down and tell us how it really happened. It will be good for
you", said Amy.
"I just loosened my boots", Connie said lifting her head from her hands. "A few months ago, I just
loosened my boots".
"We're listening", said Ramo as she gently stroked Connie's stocking foot.
Connie continued after a sniffle. "There was a loud bang".
Amy handed Connie a tissue, "Here", she said. "Take a breath just collect yourself and start from the
There was silence for a moment. The only sound was the soft rustle of nylon as of Shelbie rubbed
Connie stopped crying. "That feels good Shelbie. Please don't stop".
Shelbie silently nodded. She knew Connie's foot well. She knew the tender parts and she knew the spot
on her arch where a little thumb pressure, would be so soothing for Connie; Shelbie pressed on that
Connie began to tell her story.
"I think I was picked for the mission because I was available; it was nothing more than that. I just had to
ferry the "Killer Egg" up to a forwardly deployed Special Ops detail. I'd spend a day up there and hitch a
ride back on a Blackhawk the next day. I knew weather was coming in later in the day so I wanted to get
an early start but Colonel Nadress wanted a flight up to the Special Ops unit so I had to wait. I ended up
taking off with the Colonel about 2 hours later than I wanted to. During the flight the weather and
darkness began rolling in. I told the Colonel it was dangerous to continue and he agreed and he let me
choose a lading are where we could hunker down for the night".
Ramo watched Connie slip off her other shoe. She noticed the Captains stocking feet and she suddenly
became aware of how hot and uncomfortable her feet felt in her shoes.
"This is where you loosened your boots", asked Amy.
"Yes", replied Connie. "My feet where hot and tired. I just wanted to be a little more comfortable in an
Shelbie unconsciously lifted the heels of her feet out of their shoes and pulled her feet back a slight bit.
"It was near sunrise when the RPG went off near us. Our first instinct was to get to the helicopter. The
Colonel got up and started to run. I was behind the Colonel and started to follow him but because of my
loose boots I slipped and fell into the Colonel and tripped him and I lost both of my boots. Another RPG
fell in front of us and that when the shrapnel hit my foot and leg and although I really didn't feel it. So,
by tripping him, I wasn't courageous I was clumsy and scared to death. Maybe adrenalin took over.
There was still a clear path to the helicopter and I helped the Colonel to his feet but he was concussed
and really loopy. I took his hand to support myself and lead him to the helicopter as fast as we could go.
I was barley keeping it below a panic as I started the helicopter. Another RPG went off near us and I
took off. As I was gaining altitude, I saw blood was covering my sock, I saw them fire another RPG. They
were closer than I thought. I just wanted to stop the RPGs and the noise. So, I aimed a Hellfire missile at
them hoping it would scare them and they would stop shooting at us. As it turned out I killed them all".
"Why do you think that's not heroic", asked Ramo?
"What", asked Connie incredulously"? "I was panicked, clumsily little girl who never should have untied
her boots. I just did my job and tried fix my mistake. It was all luck. The Colonel had a concussion and
couldn't remember what happened after the second RPG but he recommended me for a medal I don't
"If you didn't trip the Colonel he would have been hit by the grenade", said Ramo. "You did save his
"Shelbie is right Connie", said Amy.
"Ramo noted that that was the first time Captain Delbray used her first name; she slipped her feet
completely out of her shoes.
"It was an accident. It was dumb luck", said Connie.
"Connie", said Amy, "You're not the first hero I've worked with in the Army. I've met several. Most of
them feel like you. They don't think they did anything that special. In truth it was dumb luck that put
them in a situation in which they could be heroic. Usually, from their perspective, they did their job and
the result was what other people viewed as heroic. Their courage was overcoming their vulnerabilities
to take the next step. It is a series of right steps that lead to heroism and you took all those right steps.
Sure, there was plenty of luck but at every chance you took the right step and at every moment you
could have hesitated you found the courage to go forward. Anybody that feels vulnerable needs
courage and heroes like you inspire those people. There is no courage without vulnerability. We award
medals to recognize heroism to show people the right thing to do and to inspire courage so people can
do the right thing. You may not feel like a hero but those students need you to be a hero. Everybody
has vulnerability but not everyone has the courage to do the right thing. Why didn't you leave the
Colonel behind? Why didn't you just ball up a cry like a baby? Was the wrong thing harder to do than
the right thing? Take about 15 minutes to answer those questions for yourself. You don't have to tell the
story General Tapton told, you don't have to tell them what really happened that night. You just have to
share your answers to those questions when you speak to those students".
Connie had stopped crying and had a big sniff. She nodded yes silently. Ramo gave her a tissue.
"We'll give some time", said Delbray.
Ramo and Delbray walked into the next in their stocking feet.
"What you said was very inspiring Ma'am", said Ramo.
"Thank you Ramo", said the Captain. Delbray looked at her watch. "We're running late".
"You seem very calm", Ramo said.
"Yes", replied Delbray as she sat down. "I planned for this contingency". Delbray sat down and propped
her feet up on a folding chair. "We even have a little time to put our feet up. Sit down an put your feet
up Ramo eh Shelbie".
Shelbie realized something had changed between she and the Captain. She wondered if she had just
been given an order. "Yes Ma'am" she replied.
Ramo sat down in another chair and propped her stocking feet next to Delbray's feet.
Donatiri walked out on a terrace alone to smoke a cigarette. She lit the cigarette, and inhaled deeply
then slowly blew out the smoke. Putting her left hand on the rail she inhaled again and pulled the
cigarette from her lips with her right hand. Max picked up her right foot pulled off the impossibly tight
shoe while holding the cigarette between her fingers; she dropped the shoe immediately. Exhaling and
still holding the cigarette she began massaging her tortured toes. Smoke wafted through her sheer
nylons between her toes. She raised her hand for another drag on her cigarette and started rubbing the
back of the calf of her other leg with the top of her sore stocking foot.
"Donatiri", said Cruste.
Max did an immediate about face and snapped to attention with just the toes of her stocking foot
touching the ground. She saluted with the smoldering cigarette still between her fingers and her lungs
still filled with smoke resisting the urge to exhale.
"Stroom told me that Kelsey is running late", he said. "You'll have to speak to the students until Kelsey
Donatiri started shuffling over to the auditorium with her right shoe half on her foot. About halfway
there she kicked off the right shoe and walked with one shoe on and off for a while. Finally, she gave up
and took the left shoe off and scurried the rest of the way in her stocking feet.
Arriving at stage entrance Donatiri pulled on the left shoe easily but struggled to get the right shoe on
her foot. Forcing her toes into the shoe she pulled tugged and wiggled the heel of shoe and finally
wedged in her foot. The top part of the heel cup of the shoe curled into the shoe and wedge tightly
against her ankle tendon; it was a very annoying feeling.
The podium was a large. It hid the entire lower body of the speaker and had a lot of hollow space under
Donatiri started reading the accommodation that General Tapton read at the medal ceremony.
"The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to
a member of the United States Army. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism. Warrant officer Connie
Kelsey is awarded this honor for such heroism...
Her right shoe was so distracting. She lifted her right foot off the ground and started rotating her ankle.
knowing the podium hid her legs Max lowered her foot to the floor and tried easing the heel of her foot
out of its shoe but the shoe was too tight.
"... Her mission was to shuttle an MH-6 attack helicopter to forward special operations unit in pursuit of
a band of insurgents..."
She wedged the heel of the shoe against the floor but she couldn't pop out her heel. Not to be deterred
Max put the heel of her right shoe against the toe of her left shoe and pulled her right foot up and back
forcibly. The shoe flew completely off her foot hitting the inside front of the podium with a thud. Glad
to have her foot free of its shoe Max ignored the sudden noise.
"...Both were wounded in the explosion..."
Donatiri rubbed her stocking foot up and down her shin and then over the toe of her left shoe before
glancing down for her errant right shoe. That was when she realized she couldn't see her shoe.
"...through withering gunfire..."
Max extended her right leg under the podium and swept her stocking foot back and forth but couldn't
feel the shoe.
"...We may never know how many more lives Warrant Officer Kelsey may have saved by neutralizing the
Subtly adjusting her position behind podium Donatiri stretched her foot out as she fished for her shoe;
she touched it. She began delicately and deliberately tracing around the polished leather of shoe with
her toes careful not to push the shoe out of reach. Tactilely identifying the sole and toe of the shoe she
slowly worked her toes towards the heel and found it. Curling her toes allowed her to grasp the heel
and she could begin dragging the shoe back towards herself.
"...Warrant Officer Kelsey has earned the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart".
The right shoe was now next to the left shoe. Donatiri said a few more extemporaneous words and was
able to twirl the shoe with her toes and slip her foot mostly into it and squashed down the heel. Connie
was ready to enter the stage.
Connie walked onto the stage sans shoes using her cane. She limped slowly to the podium during a
standing ovation welcoming her. She stood behind the podium and waited for the audience to settle
and take their seats.
Connie started to speak.
"Forgive me for not wearing shoes. Recent events have hobbled me, it's been a long day and shoes are
out of the question for me right now. This morning they awarded me a medal which I hope inspires all
of you more than it honors me. I hope it inspires all of you to always do the right thing. I am only a hero
because of chance circumstances and doing the right thing.
Deep down inside I believe everyone knows what the right thing is but it is not always easy to do. Doing
the right thing was not easy on the night my leg was wounded but I did it. In the hospital when I was
recovering, I thought a lot about that night. Why did I get wounded? Why did everything happen the
way it did? I relived the events in my mind and questioned so many things but it was only today that I
asked the question Why did I do the right thing? Believe me when I tell you, it would have been much
easier if I did the wrong things. If I did the wrong things, I probably wouldn't be standing here in my
stocking feet. Maybe I wouldn't have gotten wounded and maybe my life would be more normal.
The answer to the question is really quite simple. I did the right thing because I knew it was the right
thing to do. I think the only heroic thing I did that night was not to surrender to my fears and
vulnerabilities. Many times, it is fears and vulnerabilities that stop people from doing the right thing.
For me I conquered my fear and grew my courage one small step at a time. Taking a small step in the
right direction is much easier than doing a heroic act but taking a series of small right steps can lead to a
In conclusion everyone here knows the right thing in their heart and everyone here can muster courage
to take one step. After you take one step summon the courage to take one more step. Together all your
footsteps can make you a hero".
Delbray was driving in her stocking feet. She was taking Kelsey to the airport to catch her flight home.
Connie wanted to fly home wearing her Class A uniform with her medals pinned on her chest. Ramo sat
next to Delbray and was in her stocking feet as she had given her shoes to Kelsey. Delbray appreciated
that Ramo did that and promised to buy Ramo new shoes as she felt responsible for losing Kelsey's
Pulling the car up to the curb Delbray turned back to Kelsey.
"This is it Connie", Delbray said, "Your flight home. An airport worker will escort you to your flight and
we got you upgraded to first class in a row all by yourself. When you land someone will meet you and
escort you to your family. It's been a pleasure".
Ramo got out of the car in her stocking feet and retrieved Kelsey's luggage from the trunk.
"Thank you, Ma'am,", replied Connie," I appreciate all you did to expedite my trip home and all the
other things you and Shelbie did for me".
Ramo opened the door and helped Kelsey out of the car. She stood at attention in her stocking feet and
saluted Connie. Connie hugged her. Ramo broke rank and hugged her too. An airport porter greeted
her and helped her in to a transport cart and whisked her away. Ramo got back into the car.
"Do you want to get dinner together Shelbie", asked Amy"? "You've done an excellent job over the past
"I don't have any shoes Ma'am", replied Shelbie.
"Thanks to me", said Amy. "I'm not wearing shoes either".
"Dinner would be nice Ma'am", said Shelbie.
The flight attendant helped Connie into her seat and told her how honored they were to have her on the
flight. After preboarding was complete Connie watched as all the passengers pass by her as they
boarded. Many of them thanked her for her service but none of them recognized the Distinguish
Service Cross which was perfectly fine with Connie.
The pilots greeted Connie and said she was more than welcome to sit in the cockpit if she wanted.
Just as the plane began level flight pilot announced that they had a DSC veteran on the flight. The entire
plane applauded. Connie smiled and slipped off her shoes and asked the flight attendant for slippers.
Cruste was wearing jeans and a tee shirt when he entered the bar. He sat at a booth in the rear. Soon
another man in jeans a tee shirt entered carrying a bag. He surveyed the bar and saw Cruste sitting in a
corner booth. Walking to the booth he sat down and a waitress took their order.
"So Heftis, what do you have for me", aske Cruste.
"Something from an Honor Guard, a Hero and a Lieutenant Colonel", replied Heftis.
Connie slipped on her left slipper then lifted her right leg over her left knee to slip on her right slipper
when the flight attendant approached her.
"Excuse me Ma'am" said the attendant.
"Yes", replied Connie as she put her slipper in her lap.
"There's an adorable five-year-old girl in coach", said the attendant. " She keeps asking questions about
you and she would like to meet you. Would you mind if I brought her up here to meet you"?
I'm OK with that you can bring her up to meet me. She can fly with me for a while I have an empty seat
next to me", replied Connie "but let me get my shoes on first"
The attendant helped Connie with her shoes and then brought the little girl up to meet her.
The little girl looked at Connie with excitement and awe. Connie smiled at her and extended her hand to
"My name is Connie. What is your name"?
"Olivia", said the little girl, "Um - What's it like to be a hero"?
Connie thought for a moment and asked "Have you ever done a good thing?
Olivia nodded yes.
"Did doing the good thing make you feel good", asked Connie?
Olivia nodded yes again.
"That is what it feels like to be a hero".