"I didn't think I would see anybody from South Dakota after I joined, never mind my someone from my hometown or school," said Thompson. "I was just blown away at the idea of seeing him again."
After a day underway, Lacey discovered Thompson worked in the shop just around the corner from him, so he went to surprise him. After a brief, hug the two friends took a few minutes to catch up and reminisce.
"There wasn't a lot to do back home," said Lacey. "It's kind of like the ship in that way. You can't really do much or go anywhere, but the people here with you kind of help you get through the time."
Small-town kids learn to find things to do even when there's nothing around -- bonfires, road trips, and anything else where you're just sitting with friends and enjoying their company. Fortunately on a ship, that kind of enjoyment is easy to do. Having someone you already know well around gives you a companion from the start.
When you're from a town like mine, leaving it can be kind of overwhelming." - Thompson
"Everything is new and different, but it's cool that Nick and I are both here to experience it together," explained Thompson. "We're in the same boat, metaphorically and physically."
People from all over the world form the ranks of a deployed U.S. Navy ship -- a floating city with it's own blend of culture and atmosphere, completely apart from what service members know on shore. Days off are few and far between, with erratic working hours for people in different workspaces. With three years in the U.S. Marine Corps under his belt, Lacey has already adapted to the fast pace, new surroundings, and change in lifestyle. Now having that tie back to home makes the struggle of a deployment seem much less daunting.
"My new friends in the Marine Corps are great, but it is good to have Evan here," said Lacey. "It's like having an anchor to back home. Even if we don't get to hang out much because of work, it's good to have someone who knows exactly how I grew up and what I'm going through on here."