PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Medium Endurance Cutter Campbell (WMEC 909) and its crew returned to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on December 1st following an exhausting and extensive 10-day strategic fisheries patrol, according to a spokesman.
Around 200 family members were waiting at the pier for their loved ones to return after what must have seemed like an eternity. Many were holding enormous “Welcome Home!” signs and once alongside, tears streamed and smiles were abound as crew members and families were reunited.
“While this was one of the most exhausting patrols we’ve ever faced, I don’t believe that the crew ever questioned their own resilience and dedication to duty," said Campbell’s Commanding Officer, Cdr. John Pamatian. "In the United States Coast Guard, it’s our core values that guide us when the sea tests our focus and endurance. I have no doubt the other military services respect the sacrifice these men and women provide when on these almost unendurably long patrols”
Pamatian, who was met by his wife, Tarah, added, “I’m anxious to finally sleep in a real bed, catch up on lost time with my son and daughter, and finally eat the rest of the spaghetti and meatballs leftover from my farewell dinner at Cheesecake Factory last week.”
Lt. Cdr. Barry Rubio, the Campbell’s weapon engineer officer, was greeted by his wife, Jessica, and their excited children, Sammy, aged 3, and Isabel, 6, from Kennebunkport.
“It’s great to be home,” said Rubio. “I mean the kids have gotten so big! I barely recognize them from when we FaceTimed the other day while we were at the mooring buoy.”
His wife, Jessica, added, “It’s great to have Barry back. Sometimes I feel like no one knows how hard it is to be a military spouse. Sometimes we won’t see him for two weeks, which is tough. Civilians don't understand.”
The long-awaited homecoming was marked by families with traditional welcoming banners at the shipyard, while families waiting in the Naval Base itself were entertained by the United States Coast Guard Band as they impatiently counted the minutes until Campbell tied up.
After a short inport period of five months, followed by a dockside repair of three months, and Campbell will depart on a strenuous, 12-day, extended patrol through the Cape Cod Canal.
"Sometimes we run out of fresh salad on these longer runs," Pamatian said. "It's brutal."