Those with a particularly British cultural literacy know the meaning of this great slang term, but for the rest of us (including yours truly), “gobsmacked” means “utterly astounded.” It also describes the reaction of Yeoman 2nd Class (SW) Lucien Gauthier, whose post to a U.S. Naval Institute blog recounts his amazement that a four-star fleet commander ended up attending his Nov. 30 re-enlistment ceremony.
It started when Gauthier filled in a standard re-enlistment ceremony form’s question about “re-enlisting officer” with “Adm. Harvey.” As in, Adm. John Harvey, commander of Fleet Forces Command. Gauthier didn’t know Harvey but had posted to his blog — anonymously — while he was stationed in Afghanistan. His chain of command on the San Antonio, however, wasn’t swayed by Gauthier’s admiration of the admiral and said, “No way.” Gauthier said he understood, and opted instead for his former supply officer from the ship.
The morning of his re-enlistment, Gauthier was passed a surprise note and message from a YN3: “Dude, I think Admiral Harvey is going to come to your re-enlistment!” Gauthier doesn’t recount precisely how this came to be, and he probably doesn’t know, but to make a long story shorter, it happened. Gauthier recalled his remarks during the ceremony: “I didn’t think I would be saying this in front of such auspicious company.” He told members of the crew who were present “that they were the ones from who I learned what it means to be a Shipmate. It had been a long, strange trip aboard SAN ANTONIO. But, I’d gladly do it all over again.”
And of Harvey’s visit? Said Gauthier, “I can’t believe this happened. I just really can’t.”