Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's a small world

Back in the late 90's I was stationed at NWS China Lake, a Navy base down the street from Death Valley and worked for this cranky old first class named Mark Lawrence. Mark was famous for making grown men cry, an act I had witnessed every couple of months while I was there. But for some reason, Mark and I got along like peanut butter and jelly and made a great team running the Aviation Medicine Department.

He retired and moved out in the local community but we still hung out. Mark had 3 sons who were in high school and the oldest one was talking about joining the Army which drove Mark batty to no ends. Soon thereafter I got out of the Navy and tried to find my fortune as a mechanic in Arizona and Mark and I lost touch.

Then 9/11 happened and it made me feel like I was wasting the talents that I had spent years perfecting in the Navy, so I came in and though a mix up in paperwork, I ended up at Edwards AFB, 60 miles south of China Lake, same hellish desert, talk about bad luck. Well not really, I ended up loving the challenge of my job and I had left behind some lifelong friends back at Ridgecrest(the small town outside of China Lake) whom I could visit on a regular basis.

And I found out that Mark was living next to Edwards in a town called Palmdale and was remarried to another lady named Patty. And we were regulars at visiting each others again.

This was back in 2002, now fast forward to 2008, I'm back in Iraq for my fourth tour. I was walking by the front desk and there was a visitor waiting for me. It was Mark's older son, who was also named Mark, he joined the Army and their unit was stationed here. Funny thing is, we're both the same rank now, he's now a Staff Sergeant. One thing about the Army these days, you make rank a lot quicker then the Navy.

We hung out, shared some stories and talked about home for a while. Good times, thanks for coming by Mark, it made my week.

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