GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The USS Delaware returned home on Monday to Groton after a six-month deployment.
The USS Delaware supported national security interests and maritime security operations while on its maiden six-month deployment.
Not only was this its first mission but there were other firsts associated with the Virginia-Class fast-attack submarine, as it was named after the first state.
Loved ones of the USS Delaware’s crew members were chosen to receive the first hug, kiss and parent’s greeting.
Kristin Card said she and her two children, Anatasia and Douglas Jr., were chosen to receive the first hug. Card said she and her children have been waiting for this day for six months.
“We’re really excited this is our first deployment so it’s been a long one for them,” said Kristin Card said. “Definitely overwhelmed with every emotion right now,” Kristin Card said. “It’s just very glad to have him back.”
Douglas Card, a chief torpedo man on the USS Delaware said he was glad to be home.
“Ecstatic. I’m just glad to be back home that’s all,” said Douglas Card, a chief torpedoman on the USS Delaware.
Lilly Fort-Liss and her husband Connor, a fire control man on the submarine, were chosen for the first kiss. They met because their fathers served on the same submarine in Groton.
Lilly-Fort-Liss said she was relieved to have ber husband home.
“It’s great to be back. Thank you,” Connor Fort-Liss said.
For the first time, there was also a first-parents greeting.
“The last deployment it took hours to see him,” Sandra Norman said. “So this time we will see him one of the first people.”
Needless to say, she and her daughter Lianna Michael who came up from North Carolina were very excited to see Joshua Michael return from this deployment.
As were the many families and friends who gathered on the submarine base pier in Groton for long-awaited reunions. One mom, Ada Juarez, was feeling a bit nervous but also blessed.
“Me siento muy nerviosa de verdad,” Juarez said.
“It’s been six months. It’s been six months,” her son Jerson Bravo said. “It’s rough, right? Not seeing the family. Being out of the loop. We’ve been underwater.”
The USS Delaware was commissioned on April 4, 2020, but its commissioning date was April 2, 2020, making it the first naval warship to be commissioned while submerged.