We had a 3:45 a.m. start to the day, in order to get to the Base in San Diego by 6:45 a.m. Family members were treated to breakfast on board the ship. Matt took Norm and I on a tour, showed us where he works and introduced us to many of the people with whom he serves.
At 7:45 we left the ship after sharing hugs all around. Having lived in San Diego for over 30 years (the biggest navy town on the Pacific Coast of North America), I have seen on T.V. many times the departures and arrivals of our Navy ships, and the families who are left behind for months and often a year or more at a time. I have heard of their “sacrifice”, but I confess it didn’t really hit home until yesterday.
We stood on the pier, just a few feet from where Matt and other sailors lined up along the railings of the ship. Mandy held both of their small children, Scott aged 4 who was crying – already knowing he was not going to see his Dad again for a long time. Brenna who is 2 didn’t understand and was happily blowing kisses to Matt. Matt watched his little family, holding back tears as the flag was raised to the strains of our national anthem. This is the first time he has been away for more than a month since the children were born.
Cranes lifted the walkway we’d crossed, from the pier to the ship, a tugboat pushed the ship closer to the pier so the lines were slackened and could be hauled on board, and then the ship pulled away, sailing under the Coronado Bridge and to the open sea.
Thank you Matt and Mandy for all you and your fellow service families do.
Elaine & Norm