GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A special homecoming took place at the Naval Submarine Base New London Tuesday as the attack submarine USS Pittsburgh returned from deployment.
Master Chief Rory Wohlgemuth, Submarine Development Squadron 12, says the best part of the day is when the families see their homecoming. He relates the feeling to a wedding or child birth and says you can feel the excitement in the air.
Wohlgemuth has been deployed before and adds that it is tough but rewarding. It was especially rewarding for one family which brought a yellow sign saying “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you.” That whole life is five weeks. Chief Steven Andrews met his new son, Keith, for the very first time during the homecoming.
“It makes it that much sweeter,” said Chief Andrews.
Two other babies were born during this deployment, but their dads were able to make it home for their arrivals.
The homecoming wasn’t only full of emotion, but also tradition. Rebecca and LTJG Daniel DeToma won the first kiss, an honor chosen by raffle.
“I did like four tickets in the lottery. I got very lucky,” said Rebecca DeToma. “And I got her,” her husband added.
The first hug went to the Arnold family.
“Very emotional moment,” said Wayne Arnold. “I’m very excited. Miss these guys for a long time.”
“It’s been too long,” added his wife Amanda.
Soon, the rest of the 135 crew members departed the Pittsburgh and made their way into the waiting arms of their loved ones. The sailors were underway for six months on a European tour which logged 30,000 nautical miles and took them to Spain, Norway, and Scotland, but perhaps home port is the one they looked forward to most of all.