We know Pearl Harbor as an active port for military deployments. But I was privileged to help photograph a much happier event — a Homecoming, and a Christmas one at that. The nuclear submarine the Olympia, which had been in the west Pacific area for six months, came home to a celebration reunion with friends and family. The Homecomings are organized events, but not without some mystery. Families are not notified of the exact date until just before the arrival. For this emotional event, I want to present to you a sampling of what I saw and let the pictures tell the story.

The Olympia is prepared to disembark and even has a red carpet in place for servicemen.

Where else but Hawaii can you see such a spectacularly draped submarine — all dressed up with its welcoming lei!!

This sailor got his favorite drink delivered to him as soon as he stepped off the sub. He said he’s had a craving for months!.

And there were many sailors who had no family here to personally greet them. But each one got a kukui nut lei and welcoming hug from an organizer. Honestly, I was just about ready to put my camera down in order to give some of these guys a hug. But he looks very happy to be back on terra firma.


  1. What an absolutely beautiful Christmas! Thank you for sharing these photos with us Katherine!
    And a Merry Christmas to all the service men and women celebrating far from home!

  2. These guys are doing something I could never do.The relief after being cooped up so long at very close quarters must feel great. Years ago, my son and I waited in line over two hours to get inside this very submarine at the Port of Olympia, Washington.

  3. thank you so much!  I had so many  pictures of wonderful families it was hard to limit them to this post.  It was a wonderful experience.    Ken, I believe this sub went through updating/remodel.. .know that's not the right term… before it came to Pearl Harbor as it's new home. 
    Thank you Betty!

  4. Thank you for sharing!! What a wonderful Christmas miracle for these families and sailors. It really was heart warming. These military families and service members are in my prayers each day, I wish more people recognized the sacrifices they make for not just their country but their families. The joy on the childrens' faces says it all. MAHALO!!!!

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