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Families welcome home Nimitz sailors
EVERETT — Arlington’s Hayley Brickle was 7 months old when her daddy finally came home.
Hayley and her mom, Jessica Brickle, arrived at Naval Station Everett on the morning of Dec. 16, where they waited to greet Jessica’s husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class McCord Brickle, with the return of the USS Nimitz from its extended deployment.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier had left Everett on March 30 for what was originally planned as a six-month deployment, which turned into nearly nine months when the Nimitz and its strike group were called upon to remain in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility in response to what the U.S. Navy deemed a tense international situation.
This left local moms like Jessica Brickle holding the fort without their husbands for a bit longer than they’d expected.
“I learned to do a lot of things by myself,” said Jessica Brickle, who’s been married to McCord for two of the two and a half years that he’s served in the fleet. “I was a little nervous and even scared, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”
Jessica acknowledged that the separation was made easier through regular online correspondence with McCord.
“He emailed me every night, he called when he could and we Skyped in every port,” Jessica Brickle said. “Hayley was three days old when he saw her for the first time on Skype.”
Indeed, the new mom admitted that it might be as difficult to learn how to share parenting duties with her husband, now that he’s back home.
“It’s going to be hard to share her with him,” Jessica Brickle laughed. “It’s all still so overwhelming.”
Fellow Arlington mom Andrea Daniels, the “New Mommy” coordinator for the Nimitz, split her time between helping to comfort a few other mothers’ crying children and waiting for her own husband, Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Daniels.
“I have twin 4-year-old boys and a 1-year-old daughter, but I couldn’t bring them today and coordinate things for the new mommies,” Andrea Daniels said, as she held up a sign informing her husband, “I can’t wait to lift with you,” since the couple shares an enthusiasm for fitness, and had planned to visit Pilchuck CrossFit in Arlington. “The extension was a bummer, but this deployment actually went by really fast for us.”
For Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Blanton, who also lives in Arlington, those nine months felt a lot longer, not in the least because he spent most of them waiting to meet his now 6-month-old daughter Bailey.
“It’s overwhelming,” Charles Blanton said, as he kissed Bailey on the forehead and embraced her mother, Kate Blanton, who met him at the pier with her parents, Tom and Linda Briggs.
“He wasn’t there to see her being born, but he was able to watch it on Skype when he was in port,” Kate Blanton said. “It’s been stressful without him, but thankfully, she’s a very good baby.”
“She’s her daddy’s baby in that regard,” laughed Linda Briggs.
Although Arlington’s Jennifer Bueso is not a new mom, since her son Benny is 3 and her daughter Lydia is 8, this was nonetheless only the second deployment of her 11-year marriage to Petty Officer 2nd Class Holmer Bueso.
“I got lucky,” Jennifer Bueso said, while her children held up signs on the pier for their daddy. “I just have to be as independent and positive as I can be while he’s gone, and have faith in God that he’ll see me through.”
Because of the deployment’s extension, Jennifer had to complete the process of buying a new home without Holmer this June.
“We were sending paperwork back and forth, from ship to shore,” Jennifer Bueso said. “He hasn’t even seen the new house yet.”
“And he needs to help me clean my room,” Benny Bueso said, drawing laughter from his mother.
After Holmer Bueso helped his kids take care of their chores, he and his wife planned to enjoy some Chicken Alfredo, which was their wedding entree and has become the traditional meal for his homecomings.