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VP-1 crews return

Many families enjoyed their best days in six months recently.

Patrol Squadron One, which had been deployed to the Japan and the Western Pacific, returned to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. While EA-6B Prowler squadrons return in two groups — aircrews first, then maintenance crews and the rest of the squadron — patrol squadrons return plane by plane over several days. Tuesday morning, VP-1’s final plane arrived at the base.

“It was exciting, a whirlwind,” Kim Bacon said while she waited for her husband, Cmdr. Leon Bacon, the squadron’s commanding officer.

This was her first deployment with young children: Alec, 4 years and Claire, 2-and-a-half. Her stepson Justin is 18 and will leave for the U.S. Naval Academy this summer.

“Spouses take care of each other and we get through it,” Kim said while unloading champagne and orange juice for celebratory mimosas. “But the best time in the deployment is today.”

Anthony Corapi, the squadron’s tactics officer, arrived home Sunday, and 2-year-old Anna wasn’t quite ready to let her “Da-da” out of her sight for long. “It was an empowering deployment,” Jill Corapi said. “It was my first with two kids.”

“When I left, Jill had to switch to a zone defense from man-to-man,” Anthony said.

Seventeen-month-old Julian Costello watched hangar activity solemnly. His mother Diana wasn’t sure how Julian would react to his father’s arrival.

“Every night I show him Jude’s picture and we say goodnight to Daddy,” she said. “Julian kisses the picture but I’m not sure what he’ll do.”

When his father emerged from the plane, Julian didn’t laugh or cry. Patches on his father’s flight suit intrigued him.

Cmdr. Bacon characterized the deployment as “immensely successful.”

“We did all we were asked to do and all 425 people came home safely,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

However, Bacon had a job assignment before he and his family went home.

In a surprise, he “frocked” — promoted in Navy-ese — two sailors. Tyrone Hudson and Andrew Miller, both petty officers third class, became petty officers second class.

After that, Bacon headed for home and Hudson and Miller began looking for tailors to add new insignia to their uniforms.

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