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Childhood friends reunite on deployment

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
  • 455th AEW Public Affairs

It’s not every day servicemembers can say they got the opportunity to deploy with a friend they grew up with. For two Airmen here that is exactly what happened after not seeing each other for 18 years.

Growing up only minutes away from each other in Vacaville, Cali., Maj. Gregory Savella, 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron commander, and Staff Sgt. Vincent Fulgencio, 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of network operations, never thought they would cross paths during their careers. After learning from family members that they would be re-united on their deployments, they were excited and ready to see each other again.

“After I found out Fulgencio was coming to BAF, I was pretty stoked to see my friend again and be able to serve here with him,” Savella said. “We met up after he was settled in and were able to catch up on each other’s lives and talk about our childhood memories.”
In their earlier years, the Airmen’s families would get together for gatherings and attend church on a regular basis.

“Our families were really close and they still are to this day. Savella was like a big brother to me and I always looked up to him,” Fulgencio said. “Our loved ones are beyond excited that we’re able to reconnect, it’s unbelievable for them.”
Living in a small military town, the men knew they wanted to join the service. After joining and having families of their own, however, the two lost contact with one another.

“Eventually I knew we had to let go of our childhood. Being older than Fulgencio, I left home much sooner than he did to start my career,” Savella said.

“Although I would have liked to stay in contact with my friend, I knew that with our lives and careers and starting our own families it would be difficult.”
Throughout the years, the men were never able to return to their home city at the same time to visit their loved ones. They hope to one day have their own families meet and be able to share the memories they had together with their children.

“It would awesome to meet Maj. Savella’s family, I would like for our children to play and make memories just like we did growing up,” Fulgencio said. “It would be just like old times having everyone back together.”

With Maj. Savella approaching the end of his one year deployment and Sgt. Fulgencio just starting his six month tour, the Airmen expressed how grateful they were to be able to see each other down range.

“It’s been awesome, and I hope we run into each other again. Being able to serve in a combat zone with my friend who is now my fellow Airman has truly been a pleasure,” Savella said. “I wish him nothing but the best and I hope we see each other again.”