Navy Pilots Return To Lemoore After Eight Months At War - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Navy Pilots Return To Lemoore After Eight Months At War

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LEMOORE, Calif. (KMPH) -

It's been a long eight months for families and loved ones of Lemoore based Navy fighters pilots who've been off to war.  They've been marking time since August and Sunday the wait came to a happy ending.

Shannon Duff and her four children, Gabby, Caroline, Sam and Nate could hardly contain themselves.  Sunday was the day they've been counting down since August.  "It's pretty exciting.   This is back to back deployments.   He has been gone about sixteen months of the last 20 months."

Fourteen year old Gabby Duff has missed her Daddy.  "It's amazing how people are willing to give up their lives to go protect us."

Husband and Dad, Commander Gavin Duff is one of 46 fighter pilots returning to Lemoore after eight months at sea.  The Navy would only say their missions included air support in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

After the first squadron of jets taxied and then cut their engines, it was reunion time. Beautiful is the only way to describe the homecoming.  Commander Duff is excited to be home again. "Being gone for eight months, coming home and not being able to say good night to your kids for eight months or hug your wife that's a long time.   It just feels good to be back in their arms."

Commander Duff adds that it's great to be back on land instead of a boat.    His family is just stoked.  "I'm pretty excited.   Still shaking.  Relief and it's just all good.   Yeah he's gonna be a busy man for quite some time."

Commander Duff's list includes planting a garden, watching his kids play soccer and taking care of a long list of honey do's.

The homecomings continue Monday at Lemoore Naval Air Station.  A few more pilots and hundreds of support staff will begin arriving in the afternoon.

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