NORFOLK -- One of many homecomings the week before Christmas, the USS Eisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday.
It's an unexpected treat for the sailors on the Eisenhower, as they weren't supposed to be home until March.
However, because the ship's flight deck needs to be resurfaced, they get to spend Christmas with their families.
They Eisenhower left Naval Station Norfolk in June for an extra long deployment.
The crew was supposed to be at sea for 9 months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and other security efforts.
Members of the Ike's Air Wing flew into Naval Air Station Oceana on Tuesday.
Four F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet Squadroms from Carrier Air Wing 7 touched down while anxious family members waited for the big moment.
"The opportunity to be home for the holidays is something nobody takes for granted and certainly it was an extended gift for all of us," said CDR Fitz Gentry.
"The kids, it gave them a lift, so christmas is all the more special," said Karen Gentry.
"It's an early Christmas present, it's unbelievable, it's the best feeling in the world," said LCDR Ed Brush.
The homecoming will be a short one, as the Eisenhower will have to re-deploy to the 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation in early 2013, but for now it's all about spending time with family and loved ones.
"You know I can't even put it to words..it's just too exciting to be home," said LT Mark Berwanger.
Two other squadrons from the USS Eisenhower Air Wing flew in on Tuesday as well.
The Blue Tails, flying the E-2C Hawkeye Aircraft, and the Rawhides, flying the C-2 Greyhound both returned on Tuesday.