USS Nimitz returns to Everett after 9 months at sea

EVERETT — The USS Nimitz eased along its pier, with sailors standing at attention around the perimeter of the flight deck.

The Navy’s Deception Brass Band launched into “When the Saints Go Marching In” as families counted the last few minutes before a reunion they’d been waiting on since March.

The crowd erupted into cheers as the M14 line-throwing rifle fired and the carrier’s horn blew, signaling the ship was tying in.

The holiday season started Monday for the 3,000 men and women aboard the aircraft carrier, which arrived after nine months at sea. The Nimitz covered more than 80,000 nautical miles off Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Families, many with babies, were waiting with colorful welcome-home signs at Naval Station Everett to reunite with their sailors.

Alyssa Luczak recently moved to Everett from Maine with her three boys Nat, 6, Colin, 4, and Peyton, 3, to be at their father’s homecoming. The boys held American flags and drawings of their father on the Nimitz.

“We just couldn’t not be here,” Luczak, 26, said. “As a Navy family, we have to adapt and overcome. Daddy is helping protect our freedom.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Luczak, 27, missed Peyton’s third birthday in October when the ship’s return was delayed because of the conflict in Syria.

“It was so heartbreaking to tell him daddy’s not coming home,” Luczak said. “The hardest thing is to be mom and dad, especially when they just want their dad.”

Now, the boys’ father has made it home for the holidays, and Colin’s birthday is Wednesday.

Sasha Morford, 32, of Marysville, said she postponed her 14-month-old daughter’s first birthday party after the ship’s deployment was extended. Her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Morford, 26, already missed big moments, such as Madeline’s first steps.

“I just look at her and can’t help but see him in her,” Morford said. “As hard as it is on the homefront, what the sailors go through is immense. For them to give that up so we can have our freedom is so amazing.”

Katie Davis of Marysville knows about sacrifice for service because she recently served in the Air Force stationed in Washington, D.C.

Her family hasn’t lived together in nearly three years. Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Davis, had to ship out when their son, Dexter, was just two weeks old.

“Don’t ever join two different branches,” Davis said.

Stephanie Curtis of Marysville gave birth to her 5-month-old daughter, Evangeline, while her husband, Petty Officer Second Class Leroy Curtis, was at sea. She successfully kept the baby’s gender secret for the first week but eventually gave in and told him.

The couple had another surprise in store Monday afternoon for their other daughter Alahni, 3, who was led to believe her father would not be coming home until next month. She was at her preschool when the carrier arrived, and he was going to surprise her there.

“I want him to bond with the girls,” Curtis said. “I did everything while he was gone.”

The hardest part of the deployment, Curtis said, was watching her husband see their new baby via a Skype Internet telephone connection but not be able to hold her.

Evangeline attended her father’s homecoming wearing an undershirt that read, “Welcome Home Daddy, I’ve waited my whole life to meet you.” But the message was covered by a jacket.

“He doesn’t get to see that until he changes a diaper,” Curtis said with a laugh. “I’ve been praying for this day for a long time.”

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; or Chris Winters: 425-374-4165;

More in Local News

Child porn found in forest treehouse and Mill Creek home

Daniel Wood, 56, has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

The rules: You can’t put just anything on your vanity plate

The state keeps a “banned list” of character combinations that will automatically be denied.

Man arrested after robbery reported at Lynnwood Walgreens

He matched the description of a suspect in an earlier robbery reported about three miles away.

Driver killed in crash identified as Monroe man

Anthony Ray Vannelli Jr. died of blunt force injuries. He was 37.

Edmonds man gets nearly 14 years for murder of roommate

Derrick Crawford, 22, admitted that he shot and intended to kill 27-year-old Joshua Werner.

Motorcyclist seriously hurt in Everett hit-and-run

Police are searching for the driver and a gray Dodge Stratus with extensive front-end damage.

As expected, 92 to be laid off by Stanwood’s Twin City Foods

The frozen-vegetables processor announced last year it was moving all operations to Pasco.

Demolition begins on buildings acquired for courthouse remodel

The start date for major construction has been pushed back, but is still projected to wrap up in 2021.

Developer denied more time to submit plans for Woodway project

BSRE Point Wells wants to refine its plans for more than 3,000 units in towers of up to 17 stories.

Most Read