Thousands of military families welcomed home four ships with USS Ronald Reagan Strike group Wednesday. Wives, girlfriends, parents, siblings and children waited to see their loved ones for the first time in five months.
The strike group left San Diego in May and supported U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan flying over 1600 combat missions there, according Cmdr Scott Heber, the strike group’s commander.
Among those waiting to welcome home their sailors was a very excited Keri Winslow holding her toddler son.
“It’s been a lonnng deployment,” said Winslow. She and her husband sent a lot of DVD’s back and forth during the deployment so that their toddler son could stay in touch with his father. Winslow also said they were able to use Skype when the ship was in port.
For more than one sailor, Wednesday's homecoming was the time to meet their new children.
Jason Buerger just stepped off the ramp when he was rushed a running trio of two little girls and his wife Maggie.
“Very nice homecoming. Always nice to be home," said Buerger.
The family, including 17-year old son Kyle, was all smiles as they surrounded Buerger. “ I couldn’t be prouder. He’s my hero. I’m his biggest fan.,” said his wife Maggie Buerger. "I’m just so happy he’s home.
After returning home, many sailors are expected to take some leave time to spend with family and friends.
The Navy says the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur and the guided missile frigate USS Thach will remain deployed in the Persian Gulf for a few extra weeks to provide Security Operations but are expected to arrive next month.