Hall Sailors Home For The Holidays - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/20/04

Hall Sailors Home For The Holidays

It was a Christmas wish come true for the families of the U.S.S. Hall's crew. The sailors returned home Monday from a six month deployment, just in time for the holidays.

The guided missile frigate and its crew were deployed to South America to run counter drug operations.

Hundreds of friends and family members braved the cold to welcome their loved ones home.

As the Hall pulled into port, Jennifer Woodson pointed out her husband to their two children, three-year-old Jamie and four-month-old Trevor. Trevor was born just two months after the Hall shipped out.

"He's heard him over the phone, crying, but that's about it. So he's about to take on a load of diaper duty," said Woodson.

Joni Medlock brought her kids out to greet their dad, too. Medlock was worried her son Chad and nine-month-old daughter Mercedes weren't going to have their dad around this Christmas.

"All I asked for Christmas was for this day to come," said Medlock. "Without a dad home for the holidays, it's kind of a bummer. But he's here and they'll have one of the best holidays they could ever have."

The holidays will also be a little happier for Kevin Wagner who waited to greet his best friend Paul.

"It wouldn't be Christmas without Paul around," says Wagner of his friend. "It's like an extra Christmas present for him and us."

Once the ship docked, the crews' family and friends rushed to greet the loved ones. Sailors like Stephen Clark were reunited with the wives and children they left at home six months ago.

"Just to see my son again makes me feel really good inside, really good," said Clark. "It makes me happy. I love my family a lot."

Many of the Hall's crew say it's important to them to be with their families during the holidays.

"It means a lot being able to be home with the loved ones," said Lieutenant Austin Romberger. "We've all been really anticipating it."

"We're glad to be home for the holidays and to see our families," says Randall McCain. "I'm glad we could serve our country the way we did and, of course, we're glad to be home and see our families."

During the six month deployment the Hall seized nearly 1.7 million tons of cocaine valued at more than $124 million.

by Josh Ridgdell

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