R.I.P. Buddy

I was searching the Web earlier this afternoon for an old Navy friend and had the misfortune of finding his obituary in the Pensacola newspaper. James F. “Buddy” Lassiter died Sept. 1, 2006, at the age of 56.

My friend, Buffalo Bob Mayes who is also now deceased, introduced me to Buddy after they returned from an overseas deployment with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 62 to the Seabee base in Gulfport, Miss., where we were stationed. Bob, Buddy and I used to hang quite a bit back then, now some 30 years ago.

I saw Bob a few times after I got out of the service. I visited Buddy once in Pensacola and talked to him on the phone a few times in the intervening years. We exchanged e-mails a few years ago. As happens, we just kind of drifted apart. Buddy was one of my few close friends who stayed in the Navy for the long haul. He retired several years ago as a master chief utilitiesman, as high as you can go in the enlisted ranks.

Buddy served in the Army in Vietnam and with the Seabees in Iraq I. He was a funny guy with a mischievous air about him. Just because one drifts apart from friends doesn’t necessarily lessen a friendship and certainly doesn’t detract from the great memories one accumulates. We had some good times together. Later Buddy.

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