NORFOLK, Va. — Waving flags and hoisting colorful hand-made signs, community members gathered today on Norfolk Naval Station to welcome home the men and women of the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, who tonight, sources say, will unquestionably get drunk, break stuff, and drive.
“We’re out here to let these patriots know how much we appreciate everything they do for us,” said local bartender Stan Donnelly, ecstatic for the returning business but unaware of the shattered clavicle he’ll receive later when he refuses to serve an already visibly intoxicated Quartermaster First Class Jacob Buntz.
The Eisenhower returns from eight months deployed to the U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas of responsibility with, according to its crew members, criminally few port calls and extremely limited access to alcohol – a fact sailors will reportedly point to tonight as license to get over-the-top shithoused and engage in reckless behavior with no regard whatsoever for their own or anyone else’s safety.
“I’m gonna get stupid,” affirmed Gunner’s Mate Second Class Brent Keller, manning the Ike’s rails in pristine service whites. “We're talking pants-off, nuts-to-the-wall drunk.”
The most fun part, Keller says, will be discovering which hospital he wakes up in tomorrow morning; while the smart money is reportedly on Sentara General, the 24-year-old notes that he’s surprised himself before and could just as easily wind up on intravenous drip at Harbor View or St. Mary’s.
Yet these promised antics aren’t nearly enough to deter proud citizens like Beverly McQueen from showing her red, white, and blue colors on the pier. “Our heroes!” cheered the neighborhood grocer, who will likely spend the evening mopping up a sailor’s puke in aisle six by the bread.
"Can't wait to be run off the road by a hero," said one Norfolk motorist.
“U-S-A! U-S-A!” chanted shoe repairman Reed Goodman, whose sixteen-year-old daughter Tracy will be the target of drunken cat calls for weeks and eventually, sources say, contract chlamydia from one of the very sailors her father will shake hands with this afternoon.
Proudest of all in the crowd today, though, are the family members who have spent the past eight months waiting for a loved sailor to come home.
“I get to hold my baby today,” gushed wife and mother-of-three Theresa Hemsworth, referring to the man who blew two hundred bucks on a Belarusian stripper in Marseilles three weeks back. “It’s gonna be love at first sight all over again, I just know it!”
While some have suggested the arduous deployment merits the Ike’s sailors one night of obliterating themselves into near-comas, military behavioral experts say Norfolk residents can expect the debauchery to continue for the indefinite time being.
“Sailors tend to lean on a return from deployment as justification for easily a month’s worth of repugnant tom-foolery,” said psychiatrist Dr. Ron Ornstein at the Navy hospital in Portsmouth, explaining that this wall-to-wall period of intoxication is immediately followed by several months of lying about how long the member has actually been home and then, finally, a transition to the mere fact of being a sailor as cause enough for audacious substance abuse and irresponsibility.
“Heck, even I’m still drinking off the Kennedy’s deployment of ’83!” Ornstein said, downing a tumbler of Russell's Reserve.
At press time, the Census Bureau reported that, for all the sailors' truly abhorrent vices, each and every lush on the whole damn Ike still knows more about service and sacrifice than your lazy ass.