The end of August, 2002 my command began to prepare for our upcoming deployment. We were starting a series of detachments to train for our upcoming mission and would be spending a couple of six week stints in Fallon, NV. I had no idea what to expect aside from the wild stories I was told by my squadron mates. The basic rule of Fallon, from my understanding, was that what happens in Fallon, stays in Fallon. I had began staying off base after Andy left with two males from another command on a different work up cycle and keeping their apartment for them while they were away. Each night we would talk about the wild shenanigans that took place at the barracks and the obvious places to visit.
I was not particularly looking forward to going but I had no choice in the matter. As we prepared for the detachment things around the command began to get hectic and we started working longer hours to prepare. We packed up the equipment we would need in the dessert and loaded it into the back of an eighteen wheeler; tools, test equipment, pubs, cranials, computers, it all came with us. We finally loaded a large commercial size airplane and set off for Fallon. We made a small fuel stop in Kansas and finally landed at the air base several hours later.
I hadn’t spoken to Andy much since breaking up with him and my arrival to Fallon was no different, I had no phone. We waited to get our luggage and check into the barracks with our assigned roomate; I was assigned with a woman I barely knew, great. We made our way to our room and began unpacking our seabags in our home for the next six weeks and made small talk. I quickly changed clothes and sat out to find my friends, and to find someone to get me alcohol.
I walked around base until I found a squadron mate I knew that would get me set up, as I was still only 20. We made our purchases and went back to his room. Females could be in males rooms as long as the door was open, so we sat up a makeshift table by the entry and started playing spades. This was the usual routine most evenings in the Navy when there was nothing better to do. At the close of the evening I made my way back to my room to get sleep before reporting to work the next day.
I was shocked to find a male from another command in bed with my roommate upon my entry of the room. I made my way to the bathroom we shared with two other females to hide out. I was sitting on the toilet reading a book when I noticed a very large pair of what I called whitey tighties hanging from the towel rod. I was fairly disgusted by this and finally got the nerve to go back into my room and hit my rack. It disturbed me that I was sleeping in a room with a male I did not know, but the sun rose and we all made our way to our prospective work assignments the next day.
I attempted to stay out of my room as much as possible during the rest of that deployment. One night I was watching a movie in a friend’s room and happened to fall asleep. Instead of waking me when the movie was over, they let me remain on the floor. I woke up at about three or so in the morning and panicked; I had to get back to my room! I asked my friend to look out to see if a watch Rover was nearby so I could make my escape. He told me all was clear, but I walked right into the rover upon exiting the room.
He grabbed my arm and asked me where I was going. I stammered and replied that I was returning to my room. He asked me what command I was in and my name, but he let me go. I thought I was in the clear but when I arrived at work that afternoon, my lead petty officer and chiefs were waiting to speak with me. I had made them look bad, and I was messing up my image. They transferred me to a different shift from my friend and I was warned not to let anything else happen or they would send me to Captains Mast.
I was humiliated and mortified, I did not even like my friend in a sexual way, and I had fallen asleep on the floor attempting to stay out of the sex fest that was taking place in my room. I laid low the rest of the detachment and tried my best to keep myself out of trouble. I traveled with friends to Lake Tahoe and Reno, but mostly just sat outside of my friends rooms for the rest of the detachment.
We left Fallon after six weeks and returned to Virginia for about three weeks before we would return to the dessert. I could not wait to get out of there and back to the safety of my friends apartment. They were gone on the ship when I arrived and had a week or so to myself before they returned. We had change of command while we were back and that night I bought a SpongeBob costume. I had no clue then how important that silly costume would become later in my life, but it sadly reminds me of a girl that I will never be again.
The girl that bought that costume did not care what others thought of her and acted as silly or goofy as she pleased. She was a dreamer and a thinker, full of passion and love to give and share with anyone willing to accept it. She loved laughing and joking and social situations. That girl was naieve, but fearless and that purchase was the last glimmer of that girl that my memory holds.