Happy reunion for coast guard, families just in time for the holidays

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Family and friends holding signs, balloons and gourmet coffee greeted the US Coast Guard Cutter Stratton on Coast Guard Island on Friday morning after a deployment that started on June 13.

Coast Guard officials on the island say a deployment this long is very unusual.

Families came from across the country to greet their loved ones here in Alameda.

"We came in from Marlton, New Jersey and we wouldn't have missed it. We miss our son and we are so proud of what they've done and their mission and we wouldn't have missed it," said Sue Back as she waited for her 23-year-old son, Justin.

"It's the first time he has been away for so long. He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in May," she said.

When Justin got off the ship, he told us how special it was to see the warm welcome.

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"To have my family come out here after being away for six months, being away from them, it's a dream come true having them. It's awesome. It's amazing to be home and to see the entire crew have so many supporters. It warms your heart because being away in so many foreign ports for so long it feels great to come home to a place that is so familiar," Justin said.

This is the second of two ships to leave out of here this year to enforce UN Sanctions for the Department of Defense- a first time mission for this base in Alameda. No one we talked to here could remember the last time crews had been gone this long.

Janelle Holcomb and her daughters Madison, 5, and Molly, 3 were very excited to greet D.J. Friday morning.

"It's been hard. It's been an adjustment. We just moved from the East Coast in June so we got here, and shortly after, he got deployed. It was a big adjustment, but we did it! The girls and I are real glad to have him home," she said as the girls clutched their 'daddy dolls'- dolls with DJ's picture on them that they hugged every night before bed. And on Friday morning- they ran into DJ's arms.

"It feels amazing. Six months is a long time and I get to come back to these beautiful princesses and I couldn't be more excited to finally be home," D.J. Holcomb said as he embraced the girls in their pink tutus.

The crew does not know when the next deployment will be, but everyone is happy to be home for now, in time for the holidays.
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