There were plenty of hugs and kisses Wednesday to welcome home the 132 officers and sailors of the USS Minnesota at the Naval Submarine Base New London after the submarine’s first successful deployment.
“It’s the little moments that they miss that you’re just like I wish they were here to share with us,” Sara Burton, a Navy spouse, told NBC Connecticut.
After being separated since September and relying on technology to keep in touch, Burton was ready for her husband to return home.
“His eyes are brown, his boots are black, out of my way, my sailor’s back,” she said, reading her sign, “and I made one for my daughters that says out of our way our daddy comes home today.”
Just before 2 p.m., the USS Minnesota arrived at its homeport after a six-month deployment with visits to ports in France, Norway and Spain.
After a first kiss and a first hug, a father held his baby girl for the first time.
“I’m probably going to hit the hay, probably going to get some rest and stay up with this one here,” LSI Lewis Williams said.
Williams and his wife Brooke have four sons. Three-week-old Lailani is their first daughter.
“Oh it’s awesome, I’m glad for him to be back and to be home and do his part as a father,” Brooke said.
This was the second time Sailor Miles Burton reunited with his family after a deployment.
“It was tiring at points, but it was really enjoyable,” Burton said. “It was hard missing all three of them.”
While they have sacrificed for six months not having him home, Burton’s wife and two daughters are proud of his service to the country.
“When Kenzie is having a really hard time with him being gone, I’m always like he’s out there keeping us and our country safe and she’s like, yeah he keeps everyone safe and I’m like yes he does, so that’s how I explain it to her,” Sara said.
It is a big week for the Naval Submarine Base. The new USS Colorado will be commissioned at a ceremony on Saturday.