From NBC's Courtney Kube
Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England just provided an extremely unusual -- and totally dumbfounding -- moment at the retirement ceremony for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Ed Giambastiani.
As England was speaking about Giambastiani, a man in a red shirt walked up to the deputy secretary and put a parrot -- yes, a parrot -- on England's shoulder. England said he wanted his remarks to be very personal and that was why "Sweetie Pie" was on his shoulder. But England did not explain the joke for the rest of us. The parrot stayed on England's shoulder for the remainder of his brief remarks.
England then brought out a digital recorder that had recorded a message to Giambastiani and his wife on ... in morse code. He played the recording and translated the farewell message for those of us whose morse code is a little rusty.
Gates joked about the moment when he stepped to the podium right after England, saying, "I can't possibly top that. I have no animals."