USS Dallas home for the holidays

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — This homecoming was more than seven months in the making and for those gathered on the Submarine base’s waterfront in Groton it couldn’t come soon enough.

uss dallas 1 USS Dallas home for the holidaysMargaret Powers is carrying a huge cut out of her son Zach’s face. “I think he’s going to see himself before he sees me so that might be a little scary for him,” she says.

Among the many waiting for the USS Dallas to pull into port is six-month-old Emma Sirhal. This is the first time she’ll meet her dad and although he’s been in the Navy for 16 years this homecoming may be special for him.

“This is the first one that I think means a lot to him because he does have something great to come home to,” says her mother Kate Sirhal.uss dallas 2 USS Dallas home for the holidays

Her husband Eammon Sirhal was the first off the ship and the first to see his now expanded family.

uss dallas 3 USS Dallas home for the holidays“My daughter’s six months old,” he says after giving both mother and daughter a kiss. “I’ve only been able to see her via video and photographs and now I finally get to meet her.”

For the family granted the traditional first kiss it was a sprint to welcome home Michael Lewis.

“I’ve grown up with my dad always around me and this is the longest he’s been apart from us,” says daughter Aubree Lewis.uss dallas 4 USS Dallas home for the holidays

Ryan Cherkauskas was surprised to see his entire family including his sister Elizabeth who is also in the navy. She’s stationed in Key West.

“It is incredible,” says Elizabeth Cherkauskas. “I can’t stop crying. I’m so happy to finally see him. It’s been way too long.”

uss dallas 5 USS Dallas home for the holidaysThe usual six month deployment was extended to more than seven months and a lot hearts grew even fonder for these sailors who steamed 37,000 nautical miles.

“It’s kind of amazing at how well these ships are built that 35 years and Dallas is still going strong,” says Capt. Jack Houdeshell.uss dallas 7 USS Dallas home for the holidays

This is expected to be the final deployment for the USS Dallas. It was originally scheduled for decommissioning in 2014 but that was extended now to possibly 2017.

uss dallas 6 USS Dallas home for the holidays

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