FOR ROB DOYLE, MY FRIEND FOREVER



This is an exact transcript of the speech I gave at my best friendís wedding.  I had just returned from six weeks at the Officer Candidate School, flying from Quantico, VA, to Seattle, and then to Ohio the next weekend. I am told that this speech is still talked about among his family.  That makes me feel good because it came straight from my heart.


"When Rob asked me to be his best man, he told me I had to come up and make a speech. Now, I have been informed that it is supposed to be a toast. Youíre going to get a speech. So just hang onto your glasses and weíll get the toast part at the end.

The first thing that I wanted to cover is that ever since I got here a week ago, Iíve been calling this guy, ďRob.Ē Everybody here knows him as ďBob.Ē But for me, from the first day I met him, I called him ďRobĒ and its been a special thing. So if you hear me talking about ďRob,Ē youíll know who I am talking about. It all means the same guy.

No other person that I have ever met is like Rob, I truly mean this. And he is someone very special to me. It is not just because of his big mouth, or that weird knob on the back of his head that a lot of you might not know about. When he has his head shaved..., he knows what Iím talking about.

Today, Kate and Rob are making a commitment to share their lives together and I am very happy for both of them. I want to thank the mother....as you were.... the families on both sides for creating such a wonderful wedding.

Rob, I consider my brother. We do not have the same parents. I have never been to Ohio before but I consider you out there as my family.

I got to know Rob in Saudi Arabia. We had met shortly before and when we went over there together, Rob was about the only one who kept my sanity over there. We became really good friends.

There are many different stories I could stand up here and tell about me and Rob in Saudi Arabia. But there is only one that really, I think, will express what I think about Rob. And itís really why I am here today.

A few short anecdotes that really ticked Rob off while we were in Saudi. A couple of things I did to him that he probably didnít appreciate such as disassembling his entire rifle while he was in the bathroom. He wasnít too happy about that. The other thing he really didnít like me doing was stealing his camera and everybody having a chance of taking a picture with his glasses on. He wasnít too happy when that film came back. By the way, I still owe you for that film.

But believe me, retribution was swift and included blinding violence. So donít feel I ever got the better of him.

The one summation I want to make about Rob is on November 5th, 1990, we had been in Saudi Arabia for four months. And like all holidays, it was.... November 5th... the situation there was very miserable. It was hot, we had been away from our families, and all we wanted to do was go home. And we didnít know what was going to happen to us or whether we were going to go home.

But this particular day was an extra low point because it happened to be my 22nd birthday. I did not share this with anybody and I wanted nobody to know. I just wanted to ride it out myself. So Iím sitting in the tent, sitting on my rack, trying to deal with this myself. Then in comes Rob and in one hand is a cupcake with one single match sticking out of the top. In the other hand, he had a bag. And he came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and handed me the cake and he forced me to blow it out, as I did. I had tears in my eyes and he handed me the bag.

I opened the bag and it was .... the saddest assortment of gifts I had ever seen. There were batteries, toiletries, Pringles potato chips, writing paper, and pens. But ladies and gentlemen, I will NEVER, until the day I die, forget that he took the time to go out and find whatever he could because he knew that it was my birthday and I was having a hard time. THAT is the kind of person that is Rob Doyle and that is why I am here today.

Kate, Rob has suffered as much as I have being away from family. He has known you more (longer) than I have known my wife.  He has known you longer and he has suffered just as much as any married person on any deployment they have ever been. So I think that you are both lucky to find someone as special as each other and a love that you can call your own.

So I want to leave you with this toast and this piece of advice:

As I have hold Rob many times, it is not the destination but it is the journey. And may God bless your journey with love and prosperity. Thank you."