Families and friends greeted the crew of the USS Toledo when it came into port in Groton on Wednesday afternoon.
The 132-person crew abroad the USS Toledo was deployed on the submarine to European Command Area of Responsibility. The crew “secured national security interests and Maritime Security Operations,” in both Scotland and Spain.
The USS Toledo has been gone for six months its been in Europe and the families have been home. For many Sailors, this was their last deployment.
Eight-year-old Avery Estrada was waiting for her dad Allen Estrada, who is a radioman abroad the USS Toledo.
"It's a magical day, Avery's Birthday," Tammy Estrada said. "She got a half day of school today. Lucky girl gets to see her daddy."
Filled with emotion, tears flowed from young Avery as her daddy held her tight.
"It's actually kind of overwhelming a little bit, but it's great," Allen Estrada said. "It's good to be back. It was a long time away."
The welcome home signs created and held by loved ones have special meanings. For some, it will be the last time waiting at home during long deployments and then pier side when their sailor comes home.
Dianna and 9-month-old Jonathan Kaler give the official first hug to first class tech James Kaler.
"He was here for the first 3 months then he left," Dianna Kaler said. "But he gets to meet him today officially..so I'm pretty excited."
James Kaler said he was happy to home and "amazing" to hug his son.
The 22-year-old submarine is 81st Los Angeles-class submarine and the second U.S. Navy ship to be named after the city of Toledo. It is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet. Its six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities include "sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence," according to information from the US Navy.
"It's a huge deal for us," Brittany Kogar with 3-month-old Henry said. "So this will be the last time we have to be apart."
"It's our last deployment, so I'm just so excited," Kelsey Smith said. "I don't have to spend six months without him anymore, I finally have him home."
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