What were your first thoughts, impressions and memories of the first time you arrived in Hawaii?
Though I had flown through Hawaii from Chicago, Illinois to catch my first ship, USS Joseph Strauss (already off the coast of Vietnam), the first time for me was when the ship arrived back to Pearl Harbor after a 6 month deployment (5 months & one week for me) in September 1970.
As we arrived, we manned the rails in our dress whites.
Off to the right we could see Diamond Head & the City of Honolulu.
Off to the left (didn't know it then) was Barber's Point.
As we entered the harbor a tug boat came out to escort us and it draped a huge lei across the bow of the ship.
As we got farther into the harbor, we went past USS Arizona Memorial & we stood at attention & saluted the Arizona & those that are still aboard the Arizona.
As we got to the pier we could see hundreds of family members & friends waiting for their "sailor".
As we tied up to the pier, the Navy Band on the pier started playing. Hula girls on the pier started dancing to the music.
Then it was an emotional time as families & friends got together for the first time in six months.
Though I didn't have any family members or friends to meet me, it was really nice to see shipmates with their family & friends.
I was on several other deployments during my Navy years, but no return was ever as nice and memorable as the first one.