Two Naval ship homecomings after six months deployment
“That's it! They're coming in!”
“I see him!”
Nothing like the cheers, the excitement of families and loves ones when a Navy ship first comes into view after six months at sea. Not one, but two ship homecomings at Naval Base San Diego. First in, the guided missile destroyer Spruance. Later, the guided missile cruiser Cowpens would arrive after separate deployments in the western Pacific. This was the Spruance's maiden voyage; she left here in late October. And while her sailors were away, nine babies were born – including a set of twins.
And one set belonged to a Navy couple. The new mom and Navy electronics tech Ashley Oliver stood with her mom awaiting her husband with her three-and-a-half-month-old daughters Allison and Anabella. New dad Keith, a fire control tech aboard the Spruance, left the ship to run straight to his family.
“How does this feel? Fantastic. I'm happy to be home and happy to see them,” said Keith.
Ashley is stationed in Coronado and says she has to report back to duty next Monday. When Keith was asked how he felt about mom leaving so soon and taking care of his newborns, he said:
“This is true. I'm excited about it, bonding, yeah, make up for lost time.”
Speaking of Navy families, Shannele Peters greets her husband Michael, a corpsman. Their daughters are 2 and 4.
“Amazing, amazing, it's been a rough six months,” said Michael about reuniting with his loved ones. “(Ages) 2 and 4 gone… yeah she's a great mom, just good to be home and back with family.”
Did we mention that on the maiden voyage, the Spruance crew rescued a Filipino sailor who had fallen overboard from his commercial vessel in the early morning darkness?
“We train for that everyday. There's always something going on on the high seas: we're beholding to other mariners when in need. We would expect the same, we happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
For now the Spruance's place is docked in San Diego.