WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- After her first operational mission in over a year, the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence and her crew of 72 are home for the holidays.
Seaman Zachary Pashley is thrilled to be home after completing his first mission. “It is awesome. It’s my first time away, so being away for that long and then coming back, it's pretty exciting.”
The two-month mission included two weeks of on-board emergency training in Virginia and then a counter-drug, alien and immigrant operation off the coasts of Haiti and Hispaniola.
Commanding Officer Harry Schmidt is proud of the mission and the men. “The thing that really sets Diligence apart is just the comradery and the crew.”
“Even though I miss my wife so much, it's like, I’m thinking about when am I going to see these guys next like, when we pull in. It's weird, but it's fun because the job would be a lot worse without that,” said Pashley.
Pashley said he missed his wife more than anything, and even though phone conversations were limited, they made the best of classic correspondence. “It kind of feels cool being able to write letters and not being able to talk on the phone. It kind of makes you think a lot more about what you want to say.”
His wife, Adriana, agrees. “There's just something really sweet about the letter writing, and he's an incredible writer, so it just encompasses how you're feeling more than talking on the phone, so yeah, that was the best.”
But time spent writing emails can't compare to time spent together.
“I’m just ecstatic. We’re expecting a baby, so it's just awesome to have him home, and have him just for a little while. This was our first patrol, and it's just awesome,” said Mrs. Pashley.
Pashley said his first mission was great but the homecoming, even better. The Diligence leaves again at the end of January.