JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – VP-26 Tridents returned home to NAS Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon.
The first of five flights with aviators and sailors from the squadron were greeted by loved ones after a seven month deployment to Japan and El Salvador
“It’s almost surreal,” said William Fitts, mission commander for the flight back home. “It’s just crazy being here after not seeing them for so long.”
Fitts and his wife, Chelsea, surprised their three kids with his homecoming. She told them they were at the tarmac to watch airplanes.
“I love surprises, so this is the ultimate surprise,” said Chelsea Fitts.
VP-26 deployed in April amid the pandemic. The Fitts family said it was hard but they overcame the challenges by focusing on the positive.
“We’ve definitely gone into planning a lot of things, just keeping our eye on the prize and focusing on what we’ll do when we’re together instead of focusing on how long he’s been gone or how much longer we have,” explained Chelsea Fitts.
During deployment, VP-26 flew a variety of missions including airborne anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.