“Hey I’m ABH3 Little....”
Literally blows my mind that this girl even notices me after I introduce myself like this.
“AN Leretsis, In checking into Air Department, they are sending me to V1 Fly 1”
Yup at this point I am about to faint....”I work in Fly 1”
We would spend the next year becoming great friends, but for some reason ended up with two different people. I volunteered to cross deck to the USS Tarawa (LHA 1) in December of that year. Life would take up both in several different directions and the last time I seen her was 18 December 2004.
I spent 8 years thinking about my Shipmate. I completed some deployments on Active Duty, left Active Duty, joined the Reserves, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Came home and you all know this story but started down this struggle with PTSD. Tried to commit suicide, lost everything, gained most of it back, and was trying to put it all together but struggling to do it on my own.
Then one day I’m on my phone about to drive to Tennessee for a court hearing I didn’t want to go to, and while I’m outside the court house, Facebook says it has some suggestions for me to be friends with. Ok, I’ll bite, nope, nope, nope, hey I wondered what happened to that guy, nope, nope, WHAT!!! Immediately my heart starts racing and pounding, my tie feels likes it about to strangle me. When did her last name change” “why did her last name change to Leretsis” “Ok Mike play it cool; she may not even add you back for a few weeks, just click the button.” So I’m about to go into the court, and my phone buzzes, “Elizabeth Leretsis has accepted your friend request....yup I’m going to faint. So I shoot her a message real fast; “hey what’s up, we should catch up sometime”, no way she’s going to reply this that fast. *Buzz* “Sure here is my number”. So naturally I play it cool; and don’t reply for like 6 months! (Don’t judge me it’s been a long day and I had to figure some things out).
So we get to September 2012 and I am at an event for the Republican Party in McLeansboro, and this politician I really respect is retiring and starts talking about the importance of family, and going on about he couldn’t do any of this without his family, and I’m like; “I’m missing a family”. So I drive home and am sitting in my recliner, and I’m reading the Facebook feed and I see she’s online......”Hey Shipmate long time no talk!”
That conversation last until 2am and neither one of us wanted it to end.....
To Be Continued.....