USS Roosevelt sailors return to happy homecoming at Naval Station Mayport


MAYPORT, Fla. – A happy homecoming for hundreds of sailors on the USS Roosevelt. They're back home after a nine-month deployment -- just in time to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with friends and family.

News4Jax was there and saw many smiles and some tears of joy -- as those sailors returned to Naval Station Mayport on Sunday.

IMAGES: Mayport homecoming

There were parents who met their newborn babies for the first time -- and there was even a marriage proposal.

"I want to spend the rest of my life with you -- will you marry me?" Mark Lechlak asked his girlfriend.

"I feel amazing. it's the moment i've been thinking about for nine months. Happiest day of my life," Lechlak said.

Some sailors even met their children for the first time.

"Just watching the pictures of her cry - it's just something else being able to hold her," Joseph Deblaiso said.

Others are getting to see their children again -- after being gone for so long.
"We're gonna take the boys to Disney World - and we're gonna spend a lot of quality time together," David Barsis said.

The sailors returned on the destroyer that conducted operations with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group and took part in a number of exercises.

Missions for the sailors included the strikes against fighters of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Naval Station Mayport is one of the largest naval bases in the United States and is home to more than 10,500 Sailors.