Operation Love Re-United Homecoming

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of photographing a naval homecoming down on the Connecticut shore. Kelly first contacted me back in the summer and we’ve been checking in with each other since then. Her Husband had been away for six months and she was thrilled to welcome him home.

This was only my second Op-Love shoot and my first homecoming so I was VERY excited. Thankfully for a January day it wasn’t too frigid but we were all well bundled!

One of my favorite things about Op-Love shoots is hearing more about what life is really like in the military and how it all works.

When we got there people were gathering inside a tent trying to stay warm.

There were lots of cute little ones holding American flags.

The sub surfaces in the sound and then is pulled by tug down the river. It’s actually a fairly slow process so there was a huge eruption when the sub was first spotted but the boys didn’t start to unload (I know there’s a military term for that!) until 40 minutes later.

Most everyone was holding a homemade sign – some were super intricate!

People try to patiently wait outside the gates as the crane that puts the gangway in place is taken out of the yard. They raffle off a first hug and first kiss so those families go first. Also Kelly told me if there were any new babies since deployment those families would also get to go first. Then it’s a mad dash! Kelly has been through a few deployments so she is quite sensible…and for good reason! People were still unloading 20-30 minutes after the mad dash – it takes quite a while to secure and unload everything.

Kelly gets a quick hug but Tony is on trash duty so picks her up and starts walking back to the ship πŸ™‚

Gotta go honey!

Kelly was thrilled though – it was great to see such a happy expression on her face πŸ™‚

There were great expressions and homecomings happening all around me.

I love the little pink gloves that can’t quite wrap around Dad’s neck πŸ™‚

And now Kelly will get her real greeting πŸ™‚

The night before homecoming 2000 red roses are delivered to the base and then go out with the tug boat for the men to purchase for their loved ones. The red against the blue of the uniforms was so striking. Kelly got a lot of roses πŸ™‚

Tony’s Dad came all the way from the west coast for his first homecoming.

Happy couple πŸ™‚

Yeah she made me cry πŸ™‚

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