Thousands of local military families have that much more to be grateful for this Thanksgiving holiday.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group 7 is back home in San Diego after a six-month deployment. The anticipation of their arrival this morning on North Island in Coronado was almost too much for some wives.
"There he is right now, walking down! There he is, he's there waving!" screamed Danielle Cartier as she waits for her husband, Thomas to make his way to the pier.
The sailor is about to meet his newborn son for the very first time. Baby Phillip was born, ironically, on the 4th of July. Her husband was on the phone during the birth.
"So he got to hear the first cry -- talk to me, talk to the doctor -- it was really neat, " Cartier said.
But Tuesday morning was the moment the Cartiers had been waiting for.
"Come here buddy!" said the sailor as he embraced his infant for the first time.
Thousands of other family members greeted the sailors with signs, flowers, and plenty of hugs. Miles and Myla Davis wore T-shirts with their dad's picture. They talked about what they missed most while he was gone.
"We're probably going to wrestle cause we like doing that!" Myla said. Her brother added, "We're probably going to play video games cause that's me and my dad's main thing. "
The 5,500 sailors helped with combat operations in Afghanistan. They also provided humanitarian relief following a typhoon that struck the Philippines.
"They supported the war on terror, our troops on the ground in Afghanistan. They dealt with piracy off of Somalia and they protected oil platforms in the Northern Arabian Gulf, " Rear Admiral Scott Hebner explained.
The guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville, the guided missile frigate USS Thach as well as guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur, and USS Gridley also returned home.
But some sailors won't make it home in time for the holiday. The crew of the destroyer Howard will return Friday. The Military Times reports problems with the controllable pitch propeller system are slowing the ship's return.