Navy Families Say A Tearful Goodbye To Yorktown Crew - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/17/04

Navy Families Say A Tearful Goodbye To Yorktown Crew

As crewmen boarded the USS Yorktown, Sailor Christopher Coonce soaked up a few final moments with his his family. He's said goodbye to his wife Monica before, three times in the marriage. But this is the first time he's also had to leave behind two sons.

"He's okay leaving me because he knows I'm strong but it's not seeing his kids... not seeing them grow up and being there for them," Coonce's wife Monica said.

Kimberly Morrow sat with her three sons trying to spot her husband. Until now, Rob Morrow has been on shore duty, so this is his first time away from his wife and three sons. The youngest is only two months old.

"I told him I loved him. I told him to come home. I told him I was very proud of him and I was proud to be a Navy wife," Morrow said through tears.

Navy sons are proud too. Patrick Watson's dad is on his final deployment, but that doesn't make it any easier.

"I'm going to miss him a lot. It's just hard when he's gone and I'm not able to hang out with him and do all the kind of father-son stuff with him," Watson said of his dad.

Debbie Francoise is used to her husband leaving, but like most of these Navy families, this is the first time she's watched him go off to war.

"I don't mind the goodbye thing or the six months thing. It's where he's going that scares me," Francoise said.

As the horn sounded, sailors untied the Yorktown and the ship slowly set sail, taking the ship and its crew away from their families.

This will be the final deployment for the U.S.S. Yorktown C.G. 48. The ship's motto is "Victory is our tradition." The crew are calling this deployment their final victory lap.

by Josh Ridgdell

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