USS Vicksburg sailors return to families

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MAYPORT, Fla. - Hundreds of local families are celebrating with their personal heroes after more than 300 sailors aboard the USS Vicksburg returned home Monday to open arms and kisses.

After eight months away from their loved ones, the sailors docked at Mayport.

One by one, sailors were greeted by family and friends, some of them meeting their children for the first time face to face.

"He was born July 17," one sailor said of his son. "I pretty much got pictures the same day."

Other sailors were just excited the long journey was over.

"It is really hard to be out here this long. It's a blessing to be back with our family," one sailor said.

"This is awesome, been a long journey," another added. "Nice to be back with my wife and kids. I wouldn't be back without them."

For the last eight months, the USS Vicksburg deployed with the USS Enterprise carrier strike group in the Mediterranean and Arabian seas. The crew was responsible for conducting maritime security operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

But now that they're back home, and their families are already making plans to spend some quality time together.

"We are going to Disney World tonight," one sailor's wife said.

"The best thing is my little boy Jordan here has a game tonight. I get to go see his baseball game," one sailor said. "So it is going to be pretty sweet. Plus, I am (a Philadelphia) Eagles fan, so I get to watch the Eagles game tonight."

The USS Vicksburg was commissioned by the Navy in 1992 and is scheduled to be decommissioned during the spring of 2013.

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