Brother and sister both in US Navy reunited after being apart for 30 years

SAN DIEGO - A brother and sister -- both in the U.S. Navy -- were reunited recently after being separated 30 years ago.

Cmdr. Cindy Murray, a senior nursing officer at Naval Medical Center San Diego's Military Health Center, was eight years old when she was separated from her brother, Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Robert Williamson, who is stationed at a little more than 300 miles away at Naval Air Station Lemoore.

Murray moved from Denver and lost contact with her brother after her mother and father split up in the late 1970s. Williamson stayed in Denver with his father.

"I waited my whole life to see him again," said Murray. "I remember holding him in my arms when he was just a tiny baby."

"I've known Cindy was there and I have always tried to locate her, but I could never lock down where exactly she was," added Williamson.

Murray said she called her father, who she had not spoken to since she was 20 years old, and he informed her brother was in the Navy.

With the help of her leading chief petty officer, Chief Petty Officer Hospital Corpsman Jeremy Simon, Murray was able to finally track down her brother.

Williamson said he received a mysterious phone call.

"It was kind of funny. Being a chief [in the Navy] we have chiefs everywhere. I was at work really busy and then I was told that there is [a chief] and a commander from San Diego that is on the phone for me," explained Williamson.

Soon, Simon connected brother and sister by phone.

"I said, 'This is your sister Cindy, I can't even believe this is happening. Do you have any idea how long I have been looking for you? I've looked for you forever and here you are in the Navy, we were practically under each other's noses,'" said Murray. "It was a very emotional phone call."

Williamson said of the phone conversation: "It was overwhelming! You have a million questions that you want to ask. I was so excited I even forgot to ask what she does in the Navy."

Murray and Williamson shared information about what was going on in their lives, including how they both ended up in the Navy, their love of Goldfish crackers and their similar taste in TV shows.

Murray and Williamson are now keeping in touch regularly through email, social media and phone calls.

"After the first phone call, our Facebook pages imploded. We sent each other pictures immediately and we both posted mutual stories," said Murray.

"My wife is just ecstatic, I didn't really have any immediate family and now I have someone! I have three boys and a grandson and they are all surprised. Since the kids are older it's a lot easier because they are all very understanding," said Williamson.

"We are hoping to get together with his family in Cabo San Lucas for Christmas since I have a timeshare," said Murray.

Simon said of his role in the siblings' reunion: "Helping this family is one of the proudest moments in my career. Our Navy is awesome and to find out that they are both serving does not surprise me. There is a bond among siblings and where one is serving you can usually find another."

Williamson said, "The main thing is to never give up. Multiple times she looked and looked and one little phone call ended 30 years of no contact. Amazing. Outstanding."

Murray and Williamson are currently looking to make time for an in-person reunion.

Original story written by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean P. Lenahan Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs

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