Sailors return from 7-month deployment


MAYPORT, Fla. – More than 250 sailors on USS The Sullivans returned home to Naval Station Mayport on Tuesday after a seven-month deployment.

Among the sailors returning were 10 new dads who got to see their babies for the first time.

The sailors' families were excited to be reunited with their loved ones. They waited in the hot Florida sun as the ship arrived, a band played and some friends and family of the sailors put together a flash mob.

"All he's gotten to see is Facebook pictures (of the baby), and she's going to melt him. He's going to die when he sees her," said Jana Bullen, whose sailor husband was meeting his baby for the first time.

"Words can't describe. I didn't even know what to expect. She's just so beautiful like her mom," sailor Levi Bullen said of his daughter.

IMAGES: Sailors happy to be home

Brandie and Syrina Degesus were among those waiting for their dad to come home.

"It's really overwhelming because we've been waiting for a long time," Brandie said.

"It's different without him here. So I don't know. I miss him like a lot, lot," Syrina said.

USS The Sullivans conducted maritime operations in the Mediterranean and participated in a wide range of activities in Turkey, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Croatia.

One proud mom was happy to have her son home. He happened to celebrate his 20th year in the Navy while overseas.

"As a mom, for him to be that dedicated and loyal to his country and everyone else, it brings something out of a mom that is unexplainable," Nancy Freeland said.

Many of the sailors said they will be home for a year, and their loved ones say they have plenty of catching up to do.