CORONADO, Calif. — There was a long-awaited homecoming at Coronado as dozens of sailors with the Helicopter Sea Combat squadron returned to San Diego.
It’s been seven months of waiting for this moment: for five helicopters to touch ground and return home.
As a fiancée of a sailor and a navy jet pilot herself, Suzelle Thomas knows the waiting game and the importance of patience all too well.
“We are each other’s best support system, it’s so nice understanding each other’s worlds,” Thomas said.
Wednesday, she surprised her fiancée, Maggie Phillips with a celebratory toast of champagne showers. She left for Indonesia last November.
“I didn’t know she was coming, so I was prepared to see my parents, who I love very much, but when I saw her, that definitely made me stop in my tracks a little bit,” shared Phillips, who is an aircraft commander of HSC 21.
Phillips and her detachment’s mission was to promote a free Indo-Pacific working together with countries across the globe, spanning from Thailand, Korea and the Philippines, training in counterterrorism, cyber defense and disaster relief.
“We’re there to both work with their militaries, to train with them and they train with us, we learn tactics and procedures…and really just strengthen those international relationships in the area,” shared Lt. Brian Kennedy, a quality assurance officer and one of 10 pilots with the HSC 21 Squadron. It’s all part of a much larger integrated group of 4,500 sailors and Marines, now home or on their way to a sea of family and loved ones.
It’s a mission accomplished.
“We just like know we’re each other’s person and wherever that takes us, we’ll just support each other and for now, that’s Navy,” Phillips said.
A loved one is home safe.