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Detachments 1 and 2 from the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, following two simultaneous deployments to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans came home today, August 20, 2014. They were aboard the guided missile destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100). They landed at their home base at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego, California.

This was no regular deployment as they ended up being called upon to assist in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370, that was believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean. Both ships employed their MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to conduct search operations looking for the missing aircraft. Unfortunately, nothing was to be found, and no recoveries were made. These air crews were flying close to 1500 miles per day in their search patterns. While exhausted, they had to keep trying for the sake of the families who had loved one onboard that ill-fated plane.

It’s not always about being a warrior when it comes to being a member of the U.S. military. Time after time, the U.S. military is called upon for humanitarian and rescue missions due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis. There are also the rescue missions like we’ve recently watched in Iraq and Japan, whether it’s the delivery of food and medicine to those who are helpless, to the rescuing those in need. It’s not always about war and the deaths that happen due to combat. Sometimes, it’s about just being human, and doing the right thing.

When these brave men and women come home from these long deployments, it’s about family and friends. It’s about Dad’s and Mom’s seeing their families, with their kids running and jumping into the open arms of their parents. Husband’s and Wives kissing and holding on to each other knowing their loved one is home safe and sound. For those servicemen without families, it’s about seeing their friends and co-workers again. It’s about the having time to relax, and trying to get back to a normal life and schedule.

After attending these deployment reunions for several years, watching the different units make it back home, one never grows tired of seeing the Dad’s hugging their kids, spouses hugging and kissing like there is no tomorrow, and the tears of joys, that their warriors are home with their loved ones.

Douglas Aguillard

Douglas (Doug) Aguillard is a Freelance Photojournalist who specializes in the Military & Aviation fields. Based in San Diego, CA, he is a Marine veteran., He currently is a photojournalist for the Military Press Newspaper, the Historical / Archival Dept. photographer for the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, and a very proud member of Photo Recon, and has been published in various magazines and books such as "Combat Aircraft Monthly" magazine, "Vertical " magazine, "Wings of Gold" magazine, Sikorsky Frontlines newsletter, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Book: "Celebrating the San Diego Air & Space Museum: A History of the Museum and it's collections".

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