NORFOLK, Va. — Nearly 5,000 sailors arrived in Norfolk on Thursday morning when USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) pulled into port.
Naval Station Norfolk is becoming the aircraft carrier's new homeport, where it was commissioned 24 years ago.
“We’re happy to be back. I personally live here. So for me, it’s a real treat to come back," said Captain Murzban Morris.
Now sailors are back in their loved ones' arms and meeting new babies for the first time.
“It’s amazing. You can’t describe it," said sailor Brandon Reeves.
“It’s a blessing, it is a blessing," said Navy wife Roniqua Henderson.
While on board the aircraft carrier, the crew spent time working in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea to work in peace and in combat.
"We operated over in Iraq and Syria, contributing to the demise of ISIS," said Rear Admiral Michael Wettlaufer, the Commander of Carrier Strike Group 3.
The Stennis had been deployed since last October, and its arrival comes as USS Abraham Lincoln switches its homeport from Norfolk to San Diego.
While in Norfolk, the ship will undergo a mid-life refueling complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding.
The homeport change process is straightforward. Generally, the entire crew assigned to the command moving will make the move with the command. A few sailors who might not move are sailors currently enrolled in the exceptional family member program.
Naval Station Norfolk's public affairs officers said about 70 percent of the dependents of sailors attached to the Stennis are now settled in Hampton Roads.
Henderson said, “I’m really excited to show him [my sailor husband] where everything is and just to get involved in everything.”