JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Today, hundreds of sailors aboard the USS Thomas Hudner made it home just in time for the holidays.


It was a heartfelt homecoming for the 350 sailors who came home. Action News Jax got to meet one special sailor on his special day.

“It feels great to be home,” Combat Systems Officer Bryan Kourtney said.

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Kourtney is not only celebrating his homecoming, but also his birthday.

“It’s going to be nice to get back to the house, rest. It’s always fun when you’re underway as many people know, get back, relax and spend some time with the little guy,” Kourtney said.

Action News Jax camped outside the Mayport Pier with Kourtney’s wife, Carolyn, for almost four hours as she waited for her husband to come home.

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Carolyn said the hardest part about having her husband gone from home was seeing all the time that he was missing from being away from their 2-year-old son, Jackson.

“Can you say Daddy,” Carolyn said.

Still, Carolyn is glad to have Bryan home.

“I think we’re just going to hang up some Christmas lights today, maybe look at some Black Friday deals. We have a big prime rib waiting for him, he doesn’t know it yet and a chantilly cake,” Carolyn said.

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Sailors on the USS Thomas Hudner have been gone for the last nine weeks. They were a part of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group that was testing an aircraft’s capabilities to navigate through naval warfare scenarios.

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