Tuesday, December 6, 2011

U.S. Fleet Forces Command has officially announced the USS Bush's homecoming

Pilot Online's Kate Wiltrout reported:

Saturday will be joyful for thousands of local families welcoming home sailors from a seven-month deployment.

The aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, destroyers Truxtun and Mitscher and cruiser Anzio are scheduled to return to Norfolk on Saturday, the Navy announced Monday. The carrier strike group, which includes nearly 6,000 sailors, departed May 10.

It was the first deployment for the Bush, skippered by Capt. Brian Luther. And it was also the first time that a woman, Rear Adm. Nora Tyson, commanded a carrier strike group.

The ships and nine squadrons of aircraft that make up Carrier Air Wing Eight supported U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and conducted security operations in the Mediterranean and Arabian seas, the Navy said in a news release.

About 150 aviators are to fly in to Oceana Naval Air Station and Norfolk Naval Station on Wednesday. The fifth ship in the strike group, the cruiser Gettysburg, is scheduled to return to Mayport, Fla., on Thursday.

The first comment on the story:
Welcome Home
Submitted by RicM25798 on Tue, 12/06/2011 at 7:51 am.
A hero's welcome to the Bush Strike Group. What better way to celebrate the holidays.
P.S. - clean and functioning toilets await you!

The Daily Press also reported on the ship's return.

Nearly 6,000 sailors from the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group are scheduled to return to Naval Station Norfolk Saturday after a seven month deployment, where they supported troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Returning to Norfolk will be group's flagship, the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), plus the guided-missile destroyers USS Truxtun and USS Mitscher, and the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio.

The homecoming will mark the completion of the maiden deployment for the Bush, the newest addition to America's carrier fleet.
The USS Gettysburg, another ship in the strike group, will return to homeport in Mayport, Fla. on Thursday.

Separately, 150 aviators from Carrier Air Wing 8 who were deployed aboard the Bush will return to Hampton Roads on Wednesday, the Navy announced.

A total of 44 F/A 18 Hornets and Super Hornets will land at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. Four E-2C Hawkeyes, three C-2A Greyhounds and eight MH-60S Knight Hawks are due at Norfolk Naval Station's Chambers Field.

For more news of the armed forces, visit hrmilitary.com, home of Hampton Roads Recon, the Daily Press military blog.

Again, the first comment refers to the unfortunate fact that the "perfect system" is flawed.

luigi1 at 7:48 PM December 05, 2011
they'll be here as soon as they can dump the waste from the toilets, unless they are to clogged.

To some, the situation with the heads is a laughing matter. That's because they have never worn Real Bellbottoms or a Dixie Cup!

More than ever, I am proud to call myself a Navy Mom. I know the deployment has not been an easy one for any ONE on the ship, due, partly to the flaws in the VHCT system. Deployments are not pleasure cruises. Sailors expect some hardships, but the officers and enlisted personnel alike have endured much unease as a result of the system failure and some as a result of the press brought about from my blog. I would not change how I have conducted myself, however there could have been different ways to handle the situation - there are always many ways to deal with problems.

One reason I am proud my son joined the Navy is that it does its best to take care of it's men and women, as a whole.

The official website of the United States Navy even issued "a standard operating procedure that can help keep the holidays merry and light." For the returning sailors and for all of us, this is good advice.
"The holidays can be a hectic time for many," said Lt. Cmdr. Bonnie Chavez, Navy Behavioral Health Program director. "A lack of money, a lack of time, and the hype and commercialism of the season causes increased stress."

Surveys indicate people in the United States are more likely to feel their stress increase rather than decreases during the holidays, according to Chavez, who offers this advice:

* Take advantage of leave periods and relax for a few days by doing something you enjoy. Holiday stand-down periods provide flexibility for much needed rest to recover from the demands of Navy life.
* Be a good listener. Holidays are short and demands from friends and family for your attention will be high so try to give the gift of good company.
* Keep to your shopping budget. When it comes to holiday gift-giving, find creative ways to save money and remain in your budget. Racking up credit-card debt over the holidays may only cause further stress when the bills come due.
* Plan ahead and allow for plenty of time for holiday travel. Expect lines and delays in airports as the number of travelers swell. Prepare your car for road trips and know you'll be sharing the highway with higher numbers of travelers. Getting plenty of rest can make the journey less stressful and help you arrive safely.
* When tensions begin to rise, pause, take a deep breath, reflect and evaluate if the source of tension is really something that should be causing stress.
* The holidays are a time of excitement and exhaustion for young children. Overtired, over stimulated children are ripe for a stress inducing meltdown. Plan accordingly to anticipate disruptions in children's routines and exercise patience. The holidays are supposed to be merry.
* If deployment or geographic separation will keep you away from family and friends, plan your own observance upon your return or for a future date.

Chavez reminds Sailors to look out for their shipmates, too. Deployments, work-ups and separations are simply a fact of Navy life, and Sailors are good at welcoming shipmates into their homes and including them in celebrations.

"Don't underestimate the positive difference you can make by taking a little extra time to care," said Chavez. "The things you do every day to make connections, to encourage, and show people how they are valued and belong, can help in small but important ways for the people around you."

I've been fortunate enough to see a homecoming ship make that final turn before docking. It is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive sights. Parents, sweethearts, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends and children will all be there, some waving flags, some holding flowers, but all with arms waiting for hugs they have missed for more than half a year. I will have to wait a little longer for my hug. I won't be able to be there to welcome the sailors home - some of them might not be too eager to see the Blogging Mommy, anyway - but I will be watching the live stream and I will be looking out for my own.