The last part of the Dealing with Deployment series is the day we’ve all been waiting for… the day our loved one comes home!
Homecoming is such a special day. It’s a day long awaited for everyone involved and is met with a deserving dose of excitement, anticipation and patriotic pomp and circumstance.
The U.S. Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department does an excellent job celebrating the occasion by working to make families and friends comfortable while they wait. MWR sets up tents for shade and seating as well as bleachers on the pier. It also provides free snacks, water and American flags.
A naval homecoming isn’t quite like swooping someone up at the airport’s curbside pick-up. On the contrary, you’ll wait a few hours on the pier (in addition to the many months you’ve already endured!) for the ship to pull in, moor and let your Sailor debark.
Sometimes that means dripping with sweat in the blazing heat or freezing your tushie off in whipping wind. Either way, and regardless of your physical discomfort, you’re doing a little happy dance inside.
So when the tugboats toot their horns to announce the ship’s arrival, you’ll be barely able to contain your excitement! Here they come!
I’ve seen my share of ships return home, and it is always such a majestic sight to witness U.S. Navy Sailors dressed in whites (or blues) and manning the rails as the ship pulls in. Takes my breath away each and every time.
Once perfect and pristine, the ship now shows signs of its extensive travels with rusty streaks along its hull. It will undergo a period of maintenance to prepare for the next inevitable departure. In the meantime, we are thankful they have returned home safely!
Dads who have yet to meet their babies born during deployment and “First Kiss” raffle winners are first to disembark. Then liberty is called — usually by seniority — but in this instance an all-hands call was issued and it was a mad dash to leave the ship.
Our kids handled this seven-month deployment with courage and grit, but once they got their dad back, they did not let him go. <3
Welcome home, Sam!
We missed you. We love you.
We are so proud of your service!