U.S.S. Shamal Crew Returns Home

Not only was it a happy homecoming for the crew this morning but also for their families. Many of these families arrived early to the Naval Station welcome their loved ones back home.

The crew arrived back at their homeport in Pascagoula after nearly a month at sea, protecting our borders.

"The kids like to come," says Christy Raymond.

The 27 member crew of the U-S-S Shamal is coming off a three week patrol off the Key West of Florida, but for these wives those days have felt like years.

"It does not matter if it is one week or 10. It's still hard being by yourself with no family or anybody," says Shauna Runt.

"It's just me and the kids, so I miss having the adult contact," April Mears says. "Have you ever had two kids by yourself."

It was all hugs and kisses when these Navy dads finally stepped off the ship. Lt. Commander Joe Raymond couldn't wait to see his two little ones.

"Good to see you," Raymond says looking at his daughter in her stroller and his son on his knee.

The successful patrol included the capture of five vessels full of illegal immigrants.

Raymond says, "Basically handmade vessels of styrofoam, aluminum, plywood, tractor motors, things like with Cuban migrants on them that were trying to illegaly enter."

Raymond says it's a problem that's been escalating at sea for years.

"Last year was the most Cuban migrants in about 10 years, and the track we are on this year to equal that," says Raymond.

Their mission aside, crewmembers say they plan to take a much deserved rest before heading back out to sea.

"We're going to go home and play aren't we?" Raymond asks his son.

His son reply, "Yes!"

The Shamal has docked in Pascagoula since September 2004 .

During that time they've completed various missions, including recovery operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The crew is set to go back out to sea in 45 days.