Lemoore Naval pilots return from deployment in time for holidays

Families held signs and waved flags as they anxiously waited at Naval Air Station Lemoore to be reunited with loved ones they had not seen since June.

"I am so excited for him to be home," said Madison Shulman about her father.

For Tasha Shulman and her two children Madison and Savannah this feeling is not new. They have seen their loved one get deployed six times.

"You become a pro at it, but it is still challenging, but we know they are out there doing the right thing," said Tasha about her husband.

All the anticipation boiled down to the moment pilots of the Blue Diamond fighter squadron walked towards their families with flowers in hand. The excitement could not be contained and mad dash ensued, as the Shulman's and others run towards their loved ones with open arms.

"That is the most amazing feeling," said Tasha. "It is something that words can not describe. it is an intense relief and excitement that they are home and that they are safe and sound."

"I was thinking it is over," said Savannah about seeing her father. "We did it, we got through it."

Blue Diamond Commanding Officer Andy Shulman was also overcome with emotion.

"It was a wave of emotions it was tough," said Andy "As a skipper of the squadron, you try to maintain a stoic feeling, but it was pretty tough to keep my emotions in check as I came in."

Andy's squadron was one of three from Lemoore that was deployed to the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific on the USS NIMITZ. During their six months on deployment, they assisted in more than 1,000 air strike missions in Iraq and Syria. Tasha said that distance has only made them stronger.

"Every time we have made it through and we love each other more for it," she said.

Next for the Shulman family is sharing a lot of quality time together and spending the holidays at home.
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