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Budget hearing pauses for beer can quips

Feb. 28, 2014 - 04:27PM   |  
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Even amid the brewing storm clouds that are gathering over the Pentagon’s call for significant budget cuts in 2015, the services’ senior enlisted advisers showed that it’s still possible to keep a sense of humor.

The moment, which came Wednesday during an otherwise serious hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s military construction and veterans affairs panel, also underscored the camaraderie between the service’s top enlisted troops.

The advisers were in an discussion with lawmakers about privatized housing when Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens noted that he and his wife live in such housing themselves — and their neighbors are Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett and his wife.

In fact, Stevens said, he and Barrett share a front yard.

“That’s where I throw my empty beer cans,” quipped Barrett, seated right beside him.

“Yes, and I’m tired of kicking them back into his driveway,” Stevens swiftly retorted before resuming his testimony, as laughter erupted in the Rayburn House Office Building hearing room.

The subject was not done brewing just yet. Later, Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee, thanked Barrett for his service and wished him well in his future retirement.

Then Culberson added: “I know that Master Chief Stevens will be glad to stop cleaning up the beer cans in his front yard.”

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