‘Fighting Tigers’ return home to Jacksonville after 6 months at sea

'Fighting Tigers' return to NAS Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Patrol Squadron Eight, the Fighting Tigers, returned home Tuesday afternoon after six months at sea.

The Fighting Tigers, operating and maintaining seven P-8A Poseidon aircraft, provided anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and reconnaissance capabilities in Misawa, Japan, amid heightened tensions across the Indo-Pacific region.

We caught up with Commander James Reeves right after landing at Naval Air Station Jacksonville while he was getting reacquainted with his loved ones.

“Oh it’s wonderful, you know, six months away and to just have tremendous experiences,” Reeves said. “Team did absolutely awesome and then to come home to a welcome like this with all the families, absolutely it’s special.”

For some, it was their first deployment. For others — one of many.

“It never gets any easier, but it makes it easier when your family knows what you’re doing overseas, how to make it all safe at home, that’s what makes it easier on us,” said James Preston.

While deployed, VP-8 maintained 24-hour coverage and logged 4,100 flight hours.

“I’m extremely proud of our Fighting Tigers’ agility, determination, and professionalism throughout a dynamic and rewarding deployment,” Commander Matthew German, VP-8′s commanding officer, said in a prepared statement. “We’re appreciative of all the support our families and loved ones have provided and are excited to return home.”

About the Author:

At WJXT for a quarter of a century, Mary Baer anchors the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news weekdays.