Cmdr. Robert Laird greets his three-month old daughter, Agnes, for the first time as the USS Momsen returns Monday to Naval Station Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)                                Commander Robert Laird greets his three-month-old daughter Agnes for the first time as the USS Momsen (DDG-92) returns to Naval Station Everett after a deployment to the Pacific on Monday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Cmdr. Robert Laird greets his three-month old daughter, Agnes, for the first time as the USS Momsen returns Monday to Naval Station Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Commander Robert Laird greets his three-month-old daughter Agnes for the first time as the USS Momsen (DDG-92) returns to Naval Station Everett after a deployment to the Pacific on Monday in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

After 6 months at sea, the USS Momsen comes home to Everett

Hundreds gathered to welcome sailors home Monday, on the docks of Naval Station Everett.

EVERETT — Crowds cheered as Melchor Moises hurried off the USS Momsen, scooped up his child and kissed his wife, Kanoe Moises, after six months at sea.

The couple had won the “first kiss” after docking at Naval Station Everett on Monday. They were chosen from a raffle drawing, and found out the night before.

The Momsen left Everett in April to travel to the Western Pacific, and spent most of its time in the Yellow Sea near East China. The crew helped with several operations while away, including to stop illegal smuggling into Korea.

The Momsen is one of five Navy destroyers homeported in Everett.

This was the fifth time Melchor Moises had been deployed, and the second time on the Momsen. He was happy to be home and see his three children.

Much has changed since he’s been gone. One of his kids started school this year for the first time, and another has learned to walk.

“So much happens that they miss out on,” Kanoe Moises said. “I’m just happy for him to be home and be a part of it now.”

Jessica Karstens was waiting for her husband, Drake Karstens. They got married about two years ago, and have owned their home in Granite Falls for about half that time.

She’s looking forward to settling in together and having family over for the holidays.

With one child in a stroller and another running around the dock, Kristyn Weekfall was eagerly anticipating the return of her husband, Walley Weekfall. The couple moved to the area from Florida right before he was deployed.

“We just moved here in March, so it was a big adjustment,” she said. “He left three weeks after we moved.”

She was most excited for him to come home to spend time with their kids.

“And I need stuff fixed around the house,” she joked.

Around noon on Monday, hundreds of people gathered on the naval station docks as the ship floated in from Possession Sound.

About an hour later, the Momsen pulled up as the Navy Band Northwest played “Anchors Aweigh.” Families clapped and shouted out names as they waved to sailors standing on the ship’s deck.

Cmdr. Robert Laird was one of the first to walk off the ship. He’s captain of the Momsen, and took command almost a year ago.

He shared how proud he was of the crew during deployment, and how he knows they couldn’t have done it without the support and care packages sent from loved ones.

Once Laird was off the ship, his two young daughters clung to his sides.

One of the girls showed off her new shoes and talked about plans to celebrate a family birthday together, for the first time in two years.

“It’s wonderful to be home,” he said.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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