Family and friends greeted hundreds of sailors as they arrived at Lemoore Naval Air Station Monday. Crew members from the U.S.S. John C. Stennis had been on deployment since August. Their main job was to assist the ground troops who are serving in Afghanistan.
This group traveled 66,000 nautical miles while at sea, but it was Monday’s short flight up from San Diego which felt like an eternity.
As the plane taxied into Lemoore Naval Air Station Monday evening, loved ones eagerly waited for their chance to greet the 120 men and women on board.
Then, like she was shot out of a cannon, three year old Audrey quickly found her mom. It’s the moment Carlie Williams had dreamed of.
“You know she’s fine and in good hands, but you want to put her to bed, bathe her and feed her. She had a birthday and then there was Christmas. It’s hard being away and not having those moments with your children,” said Carlie Williams, U.S. Navy.
For Troy Pettibon, this was his sixth deployment. Being back in the arms of his family was a huge relief to him and his twin girls.
“I don’t know what else to say other than I’m just glad to be home, it was a long eight months,” said Troy Pettibon, U.S. Navy.
Earlier in the afternoon, there were moments of firsts. Chris Roden was able to meet his daughter who was born while he was out to sea.
“There’s a little bit of guilt with that I guess, but the good thing is she won’t remember it and I can just get home and start being a dad,” said Chris Roden, U.S. Navy.
Meanwhile, Matthew Timour got to hold his 4-month old baby named Ava for the first time.
“It’s amazing, awesome,” said Matthew Timour, U.S. Navy.
Matthew’s wife is excited to finally have a full house.
“You don’t really notice how stressed you are until he’s right here and then it all melts away. Definitely makes it so much easier,” said Amber Timour.
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