PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - The Coast Guard Cutter Forward returnedto Hampton Roads Thursday following a nearly two-month deploymentin which is played a huge roll in supporting earthquake reliefefforts in Haiti.
The ship pulled into Base Support Unit Portsmouth following its52-day mission just after 10:00 a.m.
The Coast Guard says the cutter was its first vessel to arrivein Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The Forward crew patrolled the coast of Haiti for four weeks.They also commanded a surface action group consisting of severalCoast Guard cutters and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from CoastGuard Air Station Detroit, Mich.
Early in the crisis, the Forward provided air traffic controlfor military planes and helicopters because the earthquake severelydamaged the control tower at the main airport inPort-au-Prince.
Additionally, two law-enforcement boarding teams from theForward assisted Royal Bahamian Police Force officials and U.S.Drug Enforcement Agency agents in locating 360 pounds of cocaineand 46 pounds of marijuana hidden within a Haitian-flaggedvessel.
"I am very proud of the crew and the bravery and resourcefulnessthey displayed since the moment we were notified of the devastatingearthquake in Haiti," said CDR Diane Durham, commanding officer ofthe Forward. "They worked extremely hard during the final weeksleading up to and during this patrol, and I am very proud of alltheir accomplishments."
The homecoming was a welcome moment for 6th grader JoshuaHubert. Hubert cut class Thursday, but he had a pretty goodreason.
His dad came home.
"Before he left we always played games and we tried to hang outthe most times before he left," said Hubert.
Hubert learned a lesson outside the classroom. One in patienceas the Coast Guard Cutter slowly inched closer.
"He's been hanging around in Haiti to help the people who gotcaught in the earthquake," Hubert continued.
All the more reason 11-year-old Joshua was proud to finally hughis dad.
"It's always good to come home. It feels great. You realize howmuch you miss them," said MKC Jason Hubert.
22 month old Hailey Jones was so excited to see her dad, herpigtails stood straight up! Mom Jessica waited 3 weeks to open anenvelope she brought to the homecoming.
"I had to hide it from myself and my friends, because everyonewants to know what the envelope says," said Jessica Jones.
"Oh my, it's a boy! Yay, I'm so happy, you're having a littlebrother," screamed DC3 Adam Jones.
From families reunited to loved ones they have yet to meet, amost welcome homecoming.
"It has just been a crowning moment for all of us. We feel verygood for the work we have done," said CDR Durham.
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