During Operation Desert Storm, I was a legislative affairs officer for Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Often I was required to transport gifts, sent to him from patriotic Amerians, from Washington, D.C., to his home base in Florida. On one trip I "escorted" a four-foot teddy bear dressed in fatigues and wearing a name tag reading "Bear," the general's nickname.
As I boarded the plane, I explained my mission to the flight attendant and asked if she could store the bear in first class. She was honored to do so, and I disappeared into the coach section. Then, just before takeoff, an announcement came over the intercom: "Colonel Preast, would you please come up to first class? We have an extra seat for you to sit next to your teddy bear."