NORFOLK, Va. — After spending six months at sea, nearly 4,600 sailors are back home in Hampton Roads!
On Sunday USS Dwight D. Eisenhower pulled into port at Naval Station Norfolk to a massive crowd of family and friends. Sailors were anxious to hug their families below.
For most of the sailors, it was their second deployment within a year's time.
“My son Eli, he is two now, and apparently he’s talking a lot,” said Lieutenant Andrew Murphy. “I’m really excited to hear his voice.”
During the last six months, the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group completed missions in the Middle East. But sailors last saw their families in late December in order to quarantine and train. Most of them also deployed in 2020.
“I don’t think you are ever ready for a back-to-back deployment, at least I wasn’t,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jamice Wood.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is home
This homecoming was extremely special for Petty Officer 2nd Class David Floyd.
“My son is 2 1/2 months old, he was born on May 1,” Floyd said. “So, he is growing like a weed right now.”
Answering the call for duty, the first-time father missed his son’s birth.
“Every single day I can’t help but think about it,” Floyd said.
While many sailors were new to deployment, it was the end of a wonderful ride for Command Master Chief Antonio Perryman.
“I’ve been in just a little bit over 32 years and this is my 10th and final deployment,” Perryman said.
Once the Ike was tied down, sailors streamed off the ship. There were a lot of first kisses with new babies and long-awaited hugs with family.
“For those who don’t know, there is nothing stronger than a Navy family,” said Captain Mitch McCallister, Deputy Commander of Carrier Air Wing 3.
“I would like to thank all of the families for their sacrifices and for entrusting their sailors to us,” said USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Commanding Officer Paul Campagna.
Sailors give up a lot when they set sail, but for many, the opportunity to serve their country is worth the sacrifice.
“There is nothing more precious than seeing those sailors accomplish those goals that they set out to do,” Perryman said. “That’s excellence at its best, and I love to see it in the sailors’ faces.”