MAYPORT, Fla.-- As the USS Hue City rounded the corner and geared up to dock, family and friends waited anxiously below.
"I'm ready to get him off that ship and have in my arms. Can't wait," wife Megan Hammond said.
Sailors lined the ship, as flags flew proudly overhead and the cruiser got closer. For the last 10 months, crews conducted maritime security operations overseas, as well as missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
With Independence Day Thursday, the homecoming was especially meaningful.
"They couldn't have picked a better time to come home," Andy Boyd said.
As the sailors unloaded, there were plenty of hugs, tears and of course the first kiss. HT-1 Shane Hammond says it's the perfect ending to a successful deployment.
"It feels great to be home. Good to be back stateside," he said with a smile.