Sailor reunites with family in Jacksonville after record-breaking deployment

Sailor reunites with family in Jacksonville after record-breaking deployment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A sailor reunited with his family on Tuesday after 10 months apart.

Brett Clabeaux was aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln for 294 days. The deployment was supposed to wrap up in time for Halloween last year, but was extended multiple times and ended up being the longest for an aircraft carrier since the Vietnam War.

Brett Clabeaux’s 3-year-old son, Charlie, was all smiles as he ran into his father’s arms at the Jacksonville International Airport.

“It was waves, like a roller coaster of emotions — not really for me, but how he would react because it had been so long,” said Amanda Clabeaux, Brett Clabeaux’s wife and Charlie’s mother. “My fear was that he wouldn’t remember his dad or that he wouldn’t get that excitement.”

After a lengthy deployment around the world, the USS Abraham Lincoln arrived Monday at its new homeport in San Diego. Brett Clabeaux hopped on the first red-eye flight home to Jacksonville to see the people who matter most.

“This one was definitely harder — trying to hold back tears this time, just not being able to see him,” Brett Clabeaux said. “It was definitely very emotional this time.”

This was Brett Clabeaux’s fourth deployment in 14 ½ years with the Navy, but the first away from his son. Communication was limited to only a few Facetime calls over the 10-month span.

Now, after 294 days apart, the family is back together like no time has passed at all.

Brett Clabeaux pictured with his 3-year-old son, Charlie. (WJXT)

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