It was a happy reunion for thousands of military families who were reunited after USS Lincoln arrived in San Diego.
The USS Abraham Lincoln returned after a 295-day deployment which was the longest after leaving from Norfolk, Va. on April 1, 2019. It will dock at its new homeport in Coronado, Calif., according to Navy reports.
For many families it was the first time for sailors to meet their new born children, like, Ryan Herman, who works as a machinist’s mate on the Lincoln, who was introduced to his 8-month-old daughter, Liana, for the first time in the arms of his wife, Felecia. “I’m most looking forward to hugs — he’s always given the best hugs, and I could just cry thinking about getting one right now,” Felecia said.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate First Class Brian Johnson, also a first-time-dad, met his 6-month-old son, Cameron, describing the moment as “euphoric.” He said, “I had to imagine what he looked like in real life,” Johnson said, “All I saw was pictures, so I was just trying to figure out what he would actually look like. I didn’t know what he smelled like or how he felt, so it’s really nice to see that.”
The Lincoln was due to arrive in October, got delayed as the 3,000-person Carrier Strike Group’s deployment was extended three months because of ongoing tensions with Iran. “This carrier is what kept us from going to war with Iran,” Rear Adm. Michael Boyle, commander of Lincoln’s Carrier Strike Group 12, said at a press conference on the pier. “The deterrence that this carrier provides allowed us to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East.”
Capt. Walter Slaughter, commanding officer for the Lincoln, thanked the crew’s families for showing patience amid the long deployment. “We can’t do it without (their) support,” Slaughter said. “We can’t thank them enough.”
Watch: USS Abraham Lincoln sailors reunites with their families after 10-month deployment