Like most mothers, Army Major Michele Pulley, 47, would do anything to make her daughter, LaShantae Anderson, 26, happy%uFFFDeven travel from Kuwait to the Great Lakes Naval Academy in north suburban Great Lakes to surprise her at her Navy boot camp gradu
Pulley hid behind a column during the April 11 ceremony, and caught her daughter off guard when she showed up with flowers. “Look at my girl,” she exclaimed. “When I was standing there in formation, all I could think was I wish [my mom] could see this… But when I saw her, oh my God, I couldn’t believe it,” Anderson said, wiping a tear.
Pulley and Anderson, both natives of downstate Galesburg are no strangers to military life. Pulley is a single mother and 27-year army veteran, and Anderson has joined her on military assignments. But Pulley said she regretted not being able to follow her daughter’s Navy career.
Pulley was in Kuwait, stationed as an equipment distribution officer, when Anderson sent a text message stating her decision to join the Navy. Pulley decided that, after missing so much of her daughter’s early Navy experience, she had to get to the graduation. “I thought, ‘I need to be there to see this through,’” she recalled.
“I thought maybe my leave wouldn’t be approved because I’d only been [in Kuwait] for five months, and generally you have to be there a little longer [before you get leave.] But my supervisor, and everybody at my command was very supportive,” Pulley said. She traveled from Camp Arifjan, to a military airbase, then flew to Chicago by way of Germany and Atlanta. T
he entire trip took three and a half days%uFFFDless time than she got to spend with her daughter, who started basic engineering common core training at Great Lakes a couple days later. As they move forward in their military careers, Pulley said the two will continue to find ways to see each other.
She added, jokingly, that she wants her daughter to be stationed in Okinawa, Japan, so that visits can double as vacations. For now, Anderson is enjoying her mother’s presence. “I don’t want her to go but she’s got to be there to support her country, and that’s what I signed up for too,” she said.
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