Sailors were reunited with their loved ones on Friday as their submarine returned home to Sub Base New London in Groton after touring Europe for six months.
The USS Pittsburgh returned around 2 p.m. from what the U.S. Navy called a successful deployment. It was dispatched to Europe to support national security interests and maritime security operations.
Handmade signs were everywhere as was the tradition in homecomings. Carly Loichinger's message to her boyfriend Zach, "Here I am Zach just like I promised."
Zach Noble, who is a fireman aboard the U.S.S. Pittsburgh, proposed to his girlfriend seconds after he stepped off his sub. After they embraced, Noble proposed on the spot in front of a cheering crowd.
"I was so surprised I had no idea. They called me,” Loichinger said. “They need to talk to you. I said What? I didn't think I was that special but I am."
Noble's proposal was one of many homecoming surprises on Friday.
It was a long separation for the Fain family. Kendra Fain and Chief Petty Officer Rocky Fain have four kids, who just couldn't hold back for the first hug.
"We bought a house when my husband was gone,” Kendra Fain said. “We all moved into our new home so it’s his first time coming to the new house."
Dressed with the traditional Pittsburgh colors of gold and black lei, the Los Angeles fast attack sub left Groton in August. One month later, Sara Nichols who is the wife of the U.S.S. Pittsburgh Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr David Nichols, gave birth to his son Ryan.
"You roll with the punches and go with the flow and you live your life it goes by and he comes home and it’s all over,” Sara Nichol said.
On Friday, David Nichols could finally hold his son for the first time.
As for the first kiss, Jillian Ewen confessed to base staffers on Thursday night that she forgot how to, but it appeared she quickly remembered.
The Navy said the vessel traveled about 39,000 nautical miles, which is equal to 1.8 trips around the world or nearly eight trips from New London to San Diego.
It visited ports in Scotland, Spain and Norway.
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