Navy sailors return from sea to meet newborn babies for the 1st time

USS Farragut ends 9-month deployment

By Tarik Minor - Anchor/reporter

MAYPORT, Fla. - Nine months is a long time to be a way from your family, especially if there are some members you've never met.

"It's a great moment, I thank god I can be here, it's a great day" said Mitch Inkpen, who has been at sea for nine months on the USS Farragut.

Inkpens says his wife had twins in November, while he was out at sea. He says he and his Herodica Skyped and emailed, but Sunday, he was able to hold his son and daughter.

"It's amazing; I don't know what to say. I'm speechless," said Inkpen.

"It feels great, we are first-time parents, so it does make us nervous. We'll see how he does with the feedings tonight and getting them to sleep. It's going to be great to be a family together," said Herodica Inkpen, Mitch's wife.

The Inkpens are just one of more than 10 families meeting their newborns for the very first time. The USS Farragut departed Mayport last June, serving with other carrier strike groups at sea.

During their deployment, crews members battled pirates and traveled as far away as Spain, Germany and France.

Scott Phillips returned home after only seeing his daughter once when she was only 1 month old.

"It's really great, I can't explain what it's like to be off of that ship," said Phillips.

"It's been so hard, she's been growing up and it's great now that he's part of our lives. He actually gets to be here everyday with us. It makes us so happy," said Scott's wife, Lauren Phillips.

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