Lemoore pilots return home from deployment

August 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of sailors deployed overseas are scheduled to return home this week.

On Saturday some of those service members flew in to Lemoore Naval Air Station after an eight month deployment.

Those service members deployed in December and were initially scheduled to return home earlier this year.

But their deployment was extended twice, and that long separation was tough on families who were thrilled to see their loved ones come home on Saturday.

Alicia Conliffe and her five-year-old daughter Allison are dressed in their best and delighted to be waiving the American flag. Alicia is expecting a baby girl in two weeks and can't wait to share the experience with her husband.

"This reunion will be our very first 'yay, we're pregnant!' because this pregnancy was discovered a couple of days after the deployment," Alicia Conliffe said.

Her husband, Navy Commander Matt Conliffe, was deployed aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. His fleet supported operations in Afghanistan.

"This was supposed to be a relatively quick deployment and as they get over they get extended once, and then they get extended twice - they were supposed to be out for 3 months and these guys ended being out for 8 months," Captain Mark Black of the U.S. Navy said.

"I know the days, it's 234 days!" Nikki Ordway of Lemoore said.

Ordway missed the little things about her husband Lieutenant Austin Truffles.

"Being able to just turn to him and talk to him to ask him a question instead of waiting for an email response or two days," Ordway said.

When his plane touched down on Saturday, Nikki couldn't wait any longer - and neither could little Allison.

"Fortunately a couple of times we have had some Skypes so I got to see her a little bit but nothing like seeing her in person," Commander Matt Conliffe said.

The family is looking forward to more of those big hugs and reading lots of books together. They're also excited about welcoming their baby girl.

Another squadron is scheduled to return on Tuesday, so those families only have a few more days to wait.


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