An open letter to my best friend on National Best Friend Day: Jessica Rosario and Erica Picariello

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Erica Picariello & Master Sgt. Jessica Rosario
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs

Editor’s note: Master Sgt. Jessica Rosario, Air Force Material Command Commander senior enlisted aide at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and Tech Sgt. Erica Picariello, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, have been best friends for seven years. They wrote letters to each other to honor of National Best Friend Day 2020.

An open letter to my best friend: Master Sgt. Jessica Rosario


I remember that day as if it was happening now. It was November 2013, and I was working with another public affairs unit on Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to coordinate Airmen going to the Jay Leno Show for their military appreciation Thanksgiving special. The other PA had told me that I should meet her friend Jessica, because she felt we would get along so well. I’m usually a little skeptical when people tell me this, because it has proven to be wildly inaccurate for me. I remember being introduced to you and it was like the famous quote by author Lain S. Thomas, “And then my soul saw you and it kind of went ‘Oh there you are. I’ve been looking for you.’”

When we got to the Jay Leno show, hundreds of Airmen and sister service members crowded into a cafeteria-like room. We were all sitting at “lunch tables” waiting to be called to the set and you noticed there was an Airman, who outranked you, with very bright, unauthorized nail polish on. You quickly got up from the table to have a conversation with her about the nail polish. I watched in awe as you calmly spoke to this woman, cited a regulation and came back to the table. I remember thinking to myself, “That is the kind of Airman and woman I want to be. Calm, strong and caring.”

My initial assessment of your character was spot-on, but you still never cease to amaze me. You have been my guiding light, not only through my professional life, but through my personal life too. I can remember when my grandfather was dying, and I was in Florida – it was the night before I was to fly back home. I knew it would be the very last time I would ever see him, and I was an absolute wreck. I sat on the ground in my grandparents’ driveway for hours that night talking to you and sobbing, trying to talk through how I would explain to my one of the most important men in my life what he means to me and how much I love him – you gave me words and the understanding to get through that moment and so many others.

When I was struggling through undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and wanted to leave the military, you challenged me to look inward and ask myself if I was really ready to leave, or just ready to move on from Air Force Public Affairs. You told me, “Erica, you’ve always said the only other job you’d ever want to do in the military is mine, so why not apply to be an enlisted aide?” That’s how I know you know me better than myself. I took your advice and fell in love with a job and a whole career field of people, who are still my family, and that still continue to support me, even though I’m currently not an aide.

We’ve been through literal trials and tribulations. I can remember walking into to my boss’s general officer quarters one balmy summer day, my principal and his whole family were vacationing, and I heard water from somewhere. When I walked through the house, I found an actual geyser of water pouring from the wet bar creating a title wave through the house… it was like something out of a movie. I immediately facetimed you, freaking out, and you had to walk me through how to turn off the water to that pipe before the whole house and hardwood floors were destroyed.

Jess, I’m only the woman and Airman I am today because of your unwavering love, strength and guidance. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, or unsure – you’re there. Even when we’re separated by states and miles, I know you’re here with me and never have to “hold myself up” because I’m not doing any of this alone. My feet never touch the ground because you’re there, lifting me up.

I love you, Jess! “To Infinity and Beyond!”

An open letter to my best friend: Tech. Sgt. Erica Picariello


Where do I start? 

When we met back in 2013, I knew immediately you were my soul mate. Yes, soul mate…because that term is not just reserved for romantic relationships. Ever since that day, that is exactly what you have been to me. You are my guidepost, my light house, my emotional support human during social outings that cause me tremendous anxiety. You have been a constant presence in my life through the really good times and the really bad times. You were there through some of the darkest times I have ever experienced in my life. You were there to make sure I ate, even if it was just a few bites, to make sure I survived and you held the light so I can see the end of the very dark tunnel. You waited patiently for me at the end because you knew as long as you were there gently encouraging me, I would eventually make it back to you. You were there when I just didn’t want to be alone and sat with me, knowing you didn’t have to say anything, I just needed you to be there and you were….always! 

I’m so grateful for all of the time we have been able to share together, even though we were stationed states away from each other. We share so many great memories at those bases. One of my favorite memories though was when I was able to take a detour from my permanent change of station from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to Washington, District of Columbia, to help you with your first dinner party as an Air Force enlisted aide at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. I was so proud to be able to watch you work your magic and make it look effortless.

Speaking of proud, can I tell you how proud it makes me to watch you raising those four boys?  I’m in awe everyday of your strength and determination as you navigate life as a mother of four while doing a job that demands so much of you. You are poised and graceful as you shift back and forth from one role to the other and recently having to juggle both roles simultaneously while working from home. I see you momma and I am so proud!

Thank you for never backing down even when there were forces that were threatened by you.  You held your ground because you knew I needed you. You weren’t sure at the time why I needed you, but you stayed, and you fought for me and protected me. I would be lost today if I didn’t have you as my best friend.

Thank you for your loyalty and honest feedback, for being a mentor and therapist, you always give me the best advice even if it’s not what I want to hear. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life and for letting me give your last baby ever, Franco, his first bath. Thank you for loving me when I didn’t love myself. I wasn’t sure where this friendship would take us, but I’m so incredibly grateful we are here today. 

Here’s to growing old together in a retirement community in Florida where we annoy all the neighbors with our crazy antics. I hit the best friend jackpot with you, and I feel so blessed. 

I love you!


To infinity…and beyond.