Bristol Duncan Writes

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Gulf War & My Soul Mate

I went home once after the Gulf War, May 1992. I got into a debate with my father over his opinion regarding people who refused to go to combat. I told him it was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and pointed out that he never served in the military when he was perfectly healthy. It escalated into other topics and ended with him telling me not to ever come back.

I didn’t go back again until after he committed suicide in April of 2011.

Here are some fun food facts. The best Chinese food I’ve ever had was in a mall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. The best spaghetti was in the Sofitel Cecil Hotel in Alexandria, Egypt. Best Mexican food was in Izmir, Turkey.

Nice Segway huh?

The Navy had a command called NavMasso (i.e. Naval Management System Support Office). That’s the place people at Naval facilities around the world would call when they had a computer software problem they couldn’t fix locally. Not PC tech support but major systems like supply, pay role, fire control, and those types of systems.

One day NavMasso sent a crew out to implement an upgrade on one of our systems. This seriously hot chick named Tammy was on that team. They were only there for a couple of hours but I remembered her.

About a year later, I transferred from the Yellowstone to NavMasso in Chesapeake Virginia, near Norfolk. My desk and Tammy’s desk were pushed together facing one another making one large work area.

I was a complete dog at that point in my life. Here’s how bad I was. I walked a girl who had stayed the night at my place to her car one morning. I was waving bye to her as she left the apartment parking lot and the girl who was driving in to have breakfast with me thought it was so sweet that I came down and was waving hello to her.

Tammy was the only single female in our division at NavMasso. After a while the other women in our division told her she should go out with me to see if I was really all that. Of course I didn’t learn about this until a couple of years later. Tammy and I haven’t been apart since that first date. Well, we’ve been apart for business trips and such but you know what I mean.

When I came due to rotate overseas, Tammy had time left in the states. So I got out of the Navy after 12 years, on Halloween day 1994. I went to work for a government contractor called Litton PRC.

Tammy had been ill for a few months before my discharge. Turned out a Navy Dentist used dirty instruments during a routine teeth cleaning giving her endocarditis. Endocarditis is an inflammation caused by a bacteria eating away at your heart. A series of subsequent Navy “doctors” misdiagnosed the problem even though the symptoms are quite unique and she presented a text book case.

After being checked into an Emergency room because, she could not stand up. Thankfully, a competent doctor diagnosed the problem. Unfortunately, by then she had hours to live. They performed open-heart surgery to replace two of her heart valves with artificial valves.

We weren’t married yet so she had to tell the doctors they could talk to me. Anyway, when the doctor told me she needed a new heart valve I asked if I could donate one of mine. Looking back I’m amazed he didn’t laugh.

She got through it like the trooper she is and the Navy discharged her on a medical disability.

When I proposed I got down on one knee and asked her if she would do me the honor of marrying me. With no hesitation and complete sincerity, she responded:

“You know you don’t have to do this right?”

A justice of the piece married us on March 15, 1995.

Yes, that is Matthew’s birthday but I was not allowed to see him on birthdays. It gives us a good excuse to celebrate that day. Side note: Robin didn’t find out I was married until she called demanding a check for part of a present she gave him.

With the world today we wouldn’t want to if we could but we can’t have children. We do however have awesome little dogs which are even better.

We got our first dog, Sam in April of 1995.

In January of 2008 Tammy scared me no end again when heart beat and blood pressure dropped significantly. It resulted in her having a pace maker installed. That sounds so mechanical doesn’t it?

Sam had been ill for about a year and I finally had to let him go in January of 08.

I did not like 2008.

Like me Tammy was a Data Processing Technician in the Navy, but she decided to go into accounting when she got out. So she went back to school to get her degree.

We stayed in Virginia Beach for a while. Then the company I worked for moved us to McLean Virginia (near DC) and put me on a contract with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). I spent most of two years in Tallahassee Florida while she was in McLean. Eventually we had enough of $600 a month phone bills because we never missed a morning or evening talking to each other.


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