Thursday, May 19, 2011

Welcome Home USS Kearsarge

After the stress of the adoption situation, our family was anxious to get out of town for a break. We had already planned to go to meet my brother this past weekend when his ship, the USS Kearsarge, came home to Norfolk Naval Base after 9 months on tour, including a stint as the flag ship in the Libya conflict. After many emails to the ship's Ombudsmen (contact personnel for military families) and much planning, we got to the Naval Base on Monday at 6:30 am.

The Ombudsmen, military and businesses around Norfolk set up a very nice area at the pier for the military families. We had chairs under a large tent, lots and lots of food, music and much hoopla to keep us entertained.

Around 9:00, everyone started moving towards the railings. Someone saw the ship come around the corner and cheers and screams went up! Flags were flying everywhere and everyone who had a sign held it high in the air. You could just about make out the sailors in their whites all standing at attention around the ship perimeter. It was a sight to behold. As the ship slowly made it's way around the pier, tug boats went out to greet it. They helped to pull the ship in and dock it, a long and slow process.

Finally, the ship was docked. After a bit more waiting the families were allowed on the pier. We waited anxiously for my brother, who had warned me that he might be one of the last off the ship. True to his word, he was. But I was so happy to see him I didn't care. He dropped his sea bags as soon as he saw me running towards him. We had a long hug then the kids joined in. My brother and husband even gave each other one of those manly hugs, the ones that end with pats on the back.

My brother was able to give us a tour of the ship. I have no idea how the Sailors and Marines handle being in such tight quarters for months at a time, but they should get special awards just for being able to handle that :) The ship was quite impressive and gives you a new appreciation for what the military does to protect us all.

After the tour, we gave my brother a ride home to Chesapeake and took him out to lunch. I asked him about his plans for the next few weeks, and he said all he wants to do is sleep.

Welcome Home, Jim! We are so proud of you.


Anonymous said...

This just made my day to read about your brother arriving home and you getting to be there. How wonderful for all of you. I know it was such a special time for your family. Hope your weekend is going well, too. Thanks for sharing this.

Sweetflutterbys3 said...

Judy, thank you! I am so proud of our military and the job they do. I learned a lot about the sacrifice they make for us all.

I hope you are having a great weekend too. I can't wait to try some of the wonderful recipes you have posted now that we are home again and I can start baking :)