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Navy photo by Milosz Reterski

I was 6 years old when my dad got orders to transfer to Naval Station Norfolk and deploy with the USS Shreveport. So in 1997, we packed up our base house in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and moved to a small, three-bedroom house in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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You're rolling out of bed, it’s the morning after a long weekend. There's a ringing in your ears, and your lower back hurts like hell. Then there's a sinking pit in your gut as you look around your trashed barracks room. The television is gone, along with most of your issued gear. Next to your wallet, you can see a receipt from the “Stuff For Cash” pawn shop downtown. As you wipe the remaining sleep from your eyes, you notice barely legible writing on your forearm. In bold letters is a woman's name with too many “Y”s, “E”s, or “I”s at the end of it, and a phone number with only six digits.

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