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Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 8 Returns from Six-Month Deployment

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120531-09

By Lisa Rama, Naval Station Newport Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 8 returned to Naval Station Newport, May 31, following a six-month deployment to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, and Bahrain.

Family members began to arrive at Naval Station Newport's ceremonial Kay Hall before midnight, May 30, in anticipation of the homecoming of 276 officers and Sailors assigned to MSRON 8 as well as 35 unit personnel who had returned, May 25, from deployment to Kuwait and Bahrain.

Seven busloads of Sailors and staff arrived to a cheering family crowd of 250 loved ones at 4:45 a.m.

During the six months of the deployment there were seven children born to deployed husbands - four baby boys were waiting in the gym to meet their dads for the first time.

"I can't wait for him to get here," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Tammy Allen, holding onto newborn son, Elijah, born Feb. 14 and the son of Master-at-Arms Specialist 1st Class Curtis Allen.

"He doesn't expect us to be here. I came up from Bethesda to meet him because I didn't want to wait any longer to see him," she said.

MSRON 8 deployed overseas Nov. 1 to the UAE in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During the deployment, MSRON 8 successfully conducted landward and seaward security missions for nearly 230 port visits of Navy, Army, Coast Guard, Maritime Sealift Command (MSC) and coalition naval vessels.

In addition to protecting U.S. and coalition assets, the command was involved in medical fleet support programs; planned and executed anti-terrorism/force protection and distinguished visitor protective services; conducted courses to assist the local population in emergency medical training and conducted hundreds of theater security cooperation missions.

Seven MSRON 8 Sailors were involved in the rescue of 92 civilian mariners from an anchored merchant vessel that was damaged by an explosion and ensuing fire. The MSRON 8 Sailors' efforts aided local rescuers to ensure there was no loss of life during a potentially catastrophic maritime disaster.

The homecoming marked the successful completion of the command's deployment and signified the beginning of other adventures. Chief Boatswain's Mate Jason Baker, winner of the "1st Kiss" raffle, dropped to one knee after entering the gym and proposed to girlfriend Debbi Portalini who tearfully accepted.

MSRON 8 conducts force protection of strategic shipping and naval vessels operating in the inshore and coastal areas, anchorages and harbors, from bare beach to sophisticated port facilities. The unit is headquartered onboard Naval Station Newport, R.I.

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