Sailors with Truman strike group return home

160713-VC599-N-063 NORFOLK (July 13, 2016 )Cmdr. Alysa L. Ambrose Mansfield , commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Gravely (DDG 107) greets her family during a homecoming celebration at Naval Station Norfolk. USS Gravely arrived as part of Carrier Strike Group Eight (CSG 8) from an eight-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert/Released)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More than 6,000 sailors with the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group returned home to friends, family and loved ones Wednesday after eight months overseas.

Wednesday’s homecoming began with the arrivals of the USS Gravely and USS Anzio. The Gravely pulled in to port shortly after 9:30 a.m.

10 On Your Side’s Erin Kelly streamed the USS Gonzalez and Gravely’s arrivals live on Facebook, as excited families greeted the sailors.

The homecomings included the return of the USS Harry S. Truman, USS Anzio, USS Bulkeley, USS Gonzalez, USS Gravely and USNS John Lenthall.

Kathy Lopez, whose husband was on the Gonzalez, was waiting to introduce their 6-month-old son to him.

“It’s everything. There’s no words for it. Just really emotional and just ready for him to be home,” she said.

Photos: Truman strike group sailors returning home

The Truman strike group departed from Naval Station Norfolk in November, and was originally supposed to return in June. However, the deployment was extended by 30 days.

Maria Mullins was waiting among thousands in the crowd for her son to get off the Truman.

“He has missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter, his 26th birthday,” she said.

Pete Tamburro of Philadelphia held a home Philadelphia Flyers jersey to greet his son Dominic, as he did in 2014 when WAVY News talked to him at previous Truman homecoming. On Wednesday, Dominic was standing on the Truman’s flight deck waving the away Flyers jersey his dad had sent him. “It’s like Christmas time, when you were a little kid and you can’t sleep and your mom checked up on you. It’s Christmas time again for a 55-year-old man who’s so proud of his son,” Tamburro said, fighting back tears.

MMN2 Kaleb Goessl was one of the first sailors off the carrier. He finally had the chance to meet his new son, Flint.

“He’s five months…Ecstatic. It’s been a long time waiting,” he said.

Truman deployment extended, loved ones left waiting

Aircraft were launched from the Truman during its deployment as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve, an international mission to battle the Islamic State in the Middle East.

The Truman’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Ryan B. Scholl, said he felt like a proud father because of what the men and women did over eight months.

“We showed tenacity to destroy our enemy and bring solace to our partners and coalition as we worked all around the 5th fleet and the 6th fleet areas of responsibility,” he said.

Fighter squadrons that served with the strike group returned to Hampton Roads Monday and Tuesday.

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