On her drive north from Milton, Florida to the U.S. Navy Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia, all Robin Theriot could think about was seeing her husband Ryan Theriot. The last time she saw Ryan was 9 months ago.
It was a long drive, but well worth it.
“Today is day 314. We’ve taken day pictures every day since he left, and today is the best day,” Robin said.
Last Friday, Robin’s husband — along with more than 6,000 sailors and Marines assigned to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group — arrived back to their home port of Norfolk. Her husband Ryan is a U.S. Navy Assistant Air Operations Officer on board the USS Harry S. Truman who was deployed last July in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
It took Robin two days to get to Virginia with her daughters.
“The girls were super excited asking when they were going to see their daddy. How long it was going to take to get here,” Robin said.
The Theriot’s have three daughters. Sara, 5, is the oldest. Lily, 3, is their middle daughter. Anna, 18 months, is their youngest who was just 8 months old when he left. This is the Theriot’s forth deployment.
“The anticipation was a lot more for this deployment. The buildup, the countdown …. all of the excitement with the girls. It has been exciting,” she said.
Ryan joined the Navy in 2004. He was deployed in June 2013 as an Assistant Air Operations Officer on board the USS Harry S Truman. During that time, there were many milestones Ryan missed.
“The last time he saw Anna she wasn’t walking, she didn’t have teeth, she didn’t have hair so he’s going to be very excited to see the change with her,” she said. “I’m very proud as to how strong he was to be separated from his girls. I know my job was hard to be at home raising the girls by myself but for him it was much harder to be away from us.”
“It was difficult for me to be gone for all this time. Sara graduated from Pre-K, missed all three birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the girls learning how to swim, Ana walking and talking. It was hard to miss all that,” he added.
Ryan is very excited to be home and appreciates the letters and packages from strangers many of his fellow sailors received while deployed.
“I would like to say thank you to all the friends and family back home and thank the people who didn’t know me and send cards and packages to me and the other sailors because it really means a lot to us,” he said. “If people can continue to send cards and packages to sailors that are deployed even if they don’t know them is great to show their support to the troops.”
Second Tour is an ABC News digital series profiling the lives of military veterans who are doing unique things in the civilian world. For more stories, click here.
ABC News video editor Arthur Niemynski contributed to this report.