MAYPORT, Fla. -- Sending a sailor on deployment is the one of the hardest sacrifices a Navy family makes. And Veteran Joe Ponder says it's what makes this moment so special.
"Going to sea myself, I know how important it is for the men who protect our country on the ship to come home to such a worthy welcome," said Ponder.
But these families and thousands of others may not have to say good-bye as often because of budget cuts. The USS Gettysburg is the first of what could be many ships at Mayport whose deployment was postponed to save money.
"You are just kind of in limbo because you don't know what to do," said grandmother, Diane Johnson.
"It's a real concern for us because anything that might jeopardize the safety and security of our nation should concern all of us," said Ponder.
$46-billion will be cut from the military if congress can't agree on a budget. And that will eventually effect the sailors on the USS Halyburton and the families waiting for them on land.
"You are kind of pinching pennies as it is. So it's tough," said Johnson.
Cuts to the Navy will help save the country $1.2 trillion from the budget. "We don't need any budget cuts on defense. There is elsewhere we can go to look to cut budgets," said Ponder.
But just like the six-months these families spent separated at sea, Ponder says they will get through this.
A Lt. Commander at Mayport told Action News that he expects the USS Gettysburg to be able to deploy sometime in June.