VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Nearly 400 sailors aboard the USS Oak Hill returned home Tuesday following a six-month deployment.
U.S. Navy officials said the Oak Hill deployed in February, along with USS Iwo Jima and USS New York, and conducted maritime security operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Officials said the deployment was part of a regular rotation.
WAVY’s Tamara Scott was pier-side when the Oak Hill pulled into port at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
Many family members waiting for their loved ones expressed their excitement.
“I’m very excited. I missed all the graduation stuff so this is my first time seeing my son coming off the ship,” said Yolonda Leonard who was waiting for her son to dock.
Some sailors were hoping to see their family again, including new fathers like Ralph Palmer, who met his daughter for the first time.
“It just feels good to have a such a beautiful baby, she just warms my spirit,” said Palmer.
Commanding Officer, Commander Phillip Knight, said this is always a big day for families and sailors.
“They are excited and honored but not just the crew all these people you see on the gate, they are more excited and they are the heroes today because they’ve been waiting for six months,” said Knight.
Officials said the Iwo Jima and New York are scheduled to return Aug. 9 to Naval Station Mayport in Florida.