MAYPORT, Fla. -- Families who are waiting on sailors Monday say they have a lot to be thankful for. And Rachelle James says her biggest blessing is about to walk off the ship.
"It's been pretty tough, but I have been able to manage," she said.
Her husband Warren is one of 300 sailors who were out at sea on the U.S.S. Vicksburg. "The kids are ready to be with him, and of course us," said James.
"I can't wait to give him a big hug and tell him we are so proud of him," said Robin Dollarhide who was waiting on her brother.
For eight months, they have been patrolling the ocean for Operation Enduring Freedom. But that is all behind them, as they ran into open arms.
"To finally see your family after eight long months, it's unbearable. You can't really describe it," said sailor Warren James.
"I am just happy to be home," said sailor Jeremy Mayfield.
They missed Easter, Independence Day, backyard barbecues and Halloween. But they will be at the dinner table for Thanksgiving.
"You can't sleep at night, not because you are not tired. It's because you know you are going home," said Warren.
"It's a wonderful blessing for them to be back," said Rachelle. And they are all holding on to their blessings today and everyday after because now they can.
This was the last homecoming for this ship. The U.S.S. Vicksburg will be decommissioned next spring.