I have much to write to you – I’ve been neglectful – but today I’m sharing this post from Jason. It was in my email this morning, and it’s a precious memory of two brothers who shared a moment in time. I’m so thankful he sent it to me.
I miss you.
The USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) was Constellation’s sister ship. Both were made from the same set of plans and were structurally identical. She was in SLEP right alongside the Constellation in Philadelphia when Martin separated in 1990.
In 1994, Kitty Hawk was in port in San Diego. Martin and Gary were living there at the time, and I was there for annual training.
Martin had heard she was in port and wanted to see about getting a tour. One afternoon he and I headed over to the pier, but it wasn’t open for public tours. They were open for military visitors, but visitors needed to be escorted by somebody from the ship. As you can imagine, Martin wasn’t happy.
As we were leaving after being turned away, I recognized an A-school classmate of mine on the pier. I told Martin I think I knew him.
“No you don’t. Everybody looks the same. C’mon.”
I grabbed his attention anyway.
“Cerezo! What’s up? What are you doing here?”
“Hey! Just out here for reserve training. My brother and I were trying to see if we could get a tour of the Kitty Hawk.”
“I just got off duty, but I’ll give you guys a tour.”
So he checked us in and Martin and I got our tour. Martin was ecstatic. He kept commenting about how everything was right where he remembered it. The decor was different, but everything was in the exact same place. When our host took us to the communications area (where he worked…and where I would have worked) we couldn’t go in. I had clearance, but Martin didn’t and couldn’t be left unescorted. There was a small window off one wall that opened from the communications room into the passageway.
“Oh! This is where I would come to get messages for Engineering!”
“Well, if your brother were working here he’d be the one to hand you those messages.”
For a brief moment, our Navy lives connected. Martin, the yeoman for the Chief Engineer. Jason, the cryptologist routing the message. Two brothers–separated by time, but connected by a shared responsibility. We smiled at each other, recognizing how close we were in that moment.
As we were leaving, Martin asked if I had considered moving to active duty.
“I’ve thought about it…a lot…but I don’t think I’m going to. I’m glad you were active, though.”
“Yeah. Me too.”