Warm welcome for sailors

EVERETT — Ashley Curlee probably should still have been in bed.

Instead, she waited with her 2-day-old daughter, Peyton, for Joshua Curlee — Ashley’s husband and Peyton’s father — as the USS Abraham Lincoln arrived in Everett on Thursday morning. It was the first time Joshua saw their girl.

“I promised him I’ll be here no matter what,” said 20-year-old Ashley Curlee, who found out she was pregnant one week before he was deployed.

She was part of the crowd welcoming the 3,200 members of the aircraft carrier’s crew. Ashley Curlee also was one of 26 new mothers waiting for their loved ones, according to Eileen Marcus, the USS Abraham Lincoln ombudsman.

The USS Momsen had arrived earlier Thursday. The USS Shoup is scheduled to arrive Monday morning.

Families came from all over the country. Some live in the area; others traveled to welcome their family members.

Angel Quiambao, 31, traveled from Tawas City, Mich., with her five children — ages between 3 and 8 — to welcome her husband, Chief Petty Officer Marvin Quiambao, home. It was her fourth homecoming in Everett, an event she describes as wonderful.

“Not everywhere embraces the military like Everett has,” she said.

Brenda Zarate, 22, awaited the return of her husband, Phillip, while she held her 7-month daughter Anabella.

Anabella was about two weeks old when Phillip deployed with the Lincoln. Zarate said she had difficulties in fulfilling both parental roles during her husband’s absence, especially since she was also a new mom.

“The reunion is worth the wait,” she said.

The Lincoln returned from a six-month deployment conducting exercises around the western Pacific.

“We’re glad to be home,” said Capt. John Alexander, the USS Lincoln’s commanding officer.

The strike group’s air wing completed more than 23,500 flying hours during the deployment. The Lincoln and its group conducted exercises with France, Bahrain, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Momsen and the Shoup also provided assistance to more than 10 vessels out in the ocean.

The Lincoln is scheduled to depart Everett for Virginia in the fall to have maintenance done on its nuclear reactors, public affairs officer Kristin Ching said.

It is still unknown where the Lincoln will go after that, she said. Meanwhile, Everett will become the homeport for the USS Nimitz.

Navy Lt. Jason House plans to spend the next two weeks at home. He was welcomed by his wife, Jennifer, and his 3-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter.

His wife has a new assignment for him.

“He’s on diaper duties,” she said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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