PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) - The state welcomes the USS Hawaii, the first "Virginia-class" attack submarine to be homeported in the Pacific. This vessel is part of the Department of Defense's strategy to address growing threat in the region.
One hundred twenty crew members brought the sub home from Connecticut. This is the first time the sub is making its way to our shores, but it's a homecoming for its crew members.
It's a journey from Connecticut to Hawaii, almost 6,000 miles from start to finish. Nine-year-old Skyler Allen has practically counted every mile, waiting ten long months for this moment.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "My dad is the one actually driving the ship."
"Dad" is also known as Navy Lt. Gregory Shane Allen, USS Hawaii's chief navigator. Skyler wanted the world to know how much he missed his dad by holding up a sign that said, "Welcome home, Lt. Allen."
"I'm really proud and I can't wait to see him," said Skyler Allen. "I really want to see him."
Lt. Allen and his crew brought this 7,800-ton attack submarine home to Pearl Harbor.
This high tech vessel has all the bells and whistles, capable of launching almost two dozen weapons.
For months, Lt. Allen has called these tight quarters home. Now, he's finally home on Oahu.
"I've been waiting for so long to get back to Hawaii," said Lt. Allen. "At times it seemed like it was going to be an endless journey but to be back and see my family, and see my newborn baby, is a phenomenal experience."
It's a first-class homecoming, with a huge dose of aloha.
The love shown in the Allen family repeats itself a hundred and twenty times at the pier.
"To be with them again and to have all these people here welcoming us and having the state of Hawaii backing us, it's a great experience," said Lt. Allen.
He realizes military life is one of sacrifice.
"I hate leaving them behind and I hate the thought of them growing up without their dad around all the time," said Lt. Allen. "But I know it's something we have to do to protect our freedoms, protect this country."
It's something even young Skyler understands.
"I'm going to try to get the same job as my dad when I grow up," said the nine-year-old boy.
Until then, father, son, and the rest of the family can enjoy a transpacific homecoming.