NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The happy homecomings that took over Naval Station Norfolk on Monday with the return on the USS Harry S. Truman were a long time coming.
“We’re waiting for my husband,” Hannah Dunaway said through her tears. Her husband and high school sweetheart has been aboard the Truman for more than nine months.
“I’m so excited,” said Dunaway.
“I have so many emotions. I’m happy. I’m sad. I’m excited. I’m ready,” said Dunaway, who waited for her husband alongside the couple’s two-year-old son, Bentley.
“He’s ready too,” she said.
“He doesn’t really understand, but his world is about to change for the better,” Dunaway said.
The Truman and Carrier Strike Group 8 deployed in November, originally for a six-month deployment. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the deployment was extended twice.
“Words cannot begin to describe the joy we’re feeling to be home in Norfolk once again with our loved ones and friends,” said Capt. Gavin Duff.
“You can be proud of the tremendous work they did for our country,” Capt. Duff said.
Two Navy sailors aboard the Truman stepped foot on U.S. soil for the first time as citizens on Monday.
Petty Officers 3rd Class John Gacad and Francisian Manaog celebrated their U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier on September 9.
The Navy said this marked the first naturalization on a deployed aircraft carrier. It took months to plan the ceremony.
Representatives from USCIS joined the ceremony from the Pentagon via web conference. A judge advocate picked up the certificated in Washington D.C. and flew to the Truman as it operated in the Atlantic.
“I’m proud and honored to be a part of this historic event. Our names will be in the history books,” Manaog said.
According to the Navy, the strike group “operated in the Atlantic Ocean in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security in order to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interest.”
Hundreds of sailors aboard the carrier were greeted around 11 a.m. Monday with a big crowd. You can watch video of the ship’s arrival above from WAVY’s Chopper 10.