Sailors Return from 6-Month Deployment

By Ryan Hanrahan
|  Thursday, Apr 4, 2013  |  Updated 8:29 AM EDT
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Hugs and tears of joy filled the Groton sub base as the submarine returned from a six-month deployment.

Hugs and tears of joy filled the Groton sub base as the submarine returned from a six-month deployment.

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Sailors from the USS Alexandria had an emotional homecoming on Wednesday after a six-month deployment.

Eighteen officers and 129 enlisted sailors walked off the Los Angles-class attack submarineand were greeted by smiles and hugs from spouses and children. 

Being away for six months was not easy for newlyweds Crystal and Mack Easley.

"It's tough. You really realize the little things add up and they stress you out. I'm happy it's over," Crystal said.

They reunited with an embrace and a dozen roses and plan to celebrate with a bottle of champagne and a home-cooked meal.

"I haven't been able to sleep in two days. I lay in bed and can't sleep,” Mack said. “I've been too excited.”

The Norwich Free Academy Wildcat Marching Band welcomed the crew home and that was a special treat for Lt. Commander Neil Steinhagen, the father of Tanner and Sierra, who play in the band.

"The band's here to welcome my dad home from a very long deployment," Tanner Steinhagen, a sophomore at Norwich Free Academy, said.

Neil Steinhagen‘s wife, Rebecca, said deployments never get easier, but days like today make it all worth it.

“Proud band mom; proud wife. It's just a great day," she said.

The ship was deployment to the U.S. Africa Command and European Command areas of responsibility, where it supported national security interests and national security operations.
 

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