There is nothing like the US Navy traditions upon returning from a long deployment. The melody of all the ships docked at Pearl Harbor sounding their horns as the deployed vessel makes it’s way into home port, makes it hard to fight back tears. It is not uncommon to see the families of the sailors standing on shore crying tears of sheer excitement, or sheer anticipation, as the deployment and separation is coming to an end. As the boat passes through the heads and the Missing Man tribute, all the families share the news with one another, yet it seems like an eternity before you see the ship finally pocking it’s nose around the corner and into the final stretch to port. All the sailors aboard the returning ship are standing on the deck anxiously awaiting the first glimpse of their loved ones.
Each and every time I do a military homecoming, my heart rejoices in seeing these loved ones reunited. They are all similar, yet so very different and this homecoming was no different. There were tears. There was the anxious waiting. There was sun….and lots of it. And finally, there was the long awaited embrace and kiss.
Welcome home, Petty Officer Third Class Crawford. It was an honor to photograph your return.