Sailors, who have been deployed since last summer, assigned to the U.S.S. California returned home on Wednesday to the Sub Base in Groton and will finally got to celebrate Christmas with their families.
"It’s hard to explain. Probably the closest thing is what it felt like for Christmas when you're a kid,” Brian, who is a member of the U.S.S. California, said. “Just the excitement, it’s been very good."
Sailor Josh Pratt came home. He's carrying out a 5 generation family tradition of serving our country.
"It feels good that I continue on another generation like being in the military and serving our country,” Pratt said
"We are so proud of him that he followed in my footsteps obviously. We're just proud that he gives back to our country,” Dan Pratt said.
Dowdy Stezenson got the first kiss of the day with husband John Stezenson, who was deployed with his shipmates for six months to ports in northern Europe.
Bella Ruth allowed their daughter the traditional first hug with her daddy sonar tech Jeffrey Ruth.
"Feels great! Great deployment, great crew great chain of command and glad to be home with my family,” Ruth said.
Jeffrey Ruth said the hug was “great.”
“Probably, the best thing I ever done,” Ruth said.
"It was rough, but I got through it with the e-mails and all that communication it was good. I'm ready,” Wokie Torbor said. “I'm so happy I’ve been dancing all day."
More than 30,000 watched the U.S.S. California return to its home port in Groton on Wednesday as it streamed live on the Channel 3 Facebook page.
Not everyone is going home on Wednesday. Some crew members still have to stay on board the USS California for their assignment. They'll get off on Friday.
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