ADRIATIC SEA (NNS) -- About a year ago, two sisters were at a local Virginia Beach tea shop on a beautiful summer afternoon sipping delicious bubble tea, sharing laughs and enjoying each other's company, unsure of when they might see each other again.
Fast forward to June 6. After spending the past year apart, those same sisters found themselves embracing one another aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), an experience neither of them imagined possible the last time they were together.
Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Amanda Chagas, assigned to the "Red Rippers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11, reunited with her sister Machinery Repairman 2nd Class Guilianna Chagas, assigned to guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) in Harry S. Truman's Air Transfer Office.
"I found out that [USS Donald Cook] might be working with the Truman before we got underway," said Guilianna. "I thought it was really cool that my sister and I might even be in the same vicinity as each other. But I didn't think there was even a possibility that we might actually see each other."
Both sisters joined the Navy in January 2014, leaving for basic training only two weeks apart. Since then, they have been assigned to different duty stations, making it difficult to find time to see each other.
"To be such a big organization and to have the opportunity for family members to one, serve with sacrifice, but two, come together, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Harry S. Truman's Command Master Chief Jonas Carter. "They may never get the chance to do this again, and I'm just glad we could work between the two commands to make it happen."
Both sisters expressed their disbelief in what first started out as a joke and how quickly it became a reality.
"A few months went by of us both being out at sea and I was talking to my [executive officer]," said Gulianna. "I was kind of dropping hints at us reuniting, I didn't actually think it would happen, but I still liked it as an idea... So I asked my XO if there was any possibility of flying over to see my sister or having my sister fly over to my ship, and she actually took me seriously. She looked at me and was like 'We'll look into it and see if it's possible; it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. But don't get your hopes up.' I still didn't believe it until they told me I was flying out. They actually made it happen. It's amazing and unbelievable."
While serving in the Navy has kept these two apart, it's also brought them together.
"There are a lot of things I can talk to [Gulianna] about, that I can't talk to anyone else about," said Amanda. "Because we're sisters and we're both in the Navy. I know this is an experience that we will be talking about for a long time."
Harry S. Truman is currently operating in U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility in support of maritime security operations alongside allies and partners in the region.
For more information about Truman, visit http://www.facebook.com/USSTruman or http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.
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For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.