NORFOLK, Va. - Military service members with Eisenhower Carrier and the Comfort Hospital ship returned to American soil this week and docked here at naval Station Norfolk.
Naturally they were welcomed home by family. But they were also welcomed by a member of the White House family, Michelle Obama.
"I am delighted to be here in Norfolk today to welcome home so many heroes, welcome home," she said.
For the first lady, the heroes aren't just the service members in the audience who have spent the last four to five months in Afghanistan and Latin America.
Heroes are also their family members.
"When a service member is deployed abroad, we know their entire family makes a tremendous sacrifice that is why the president has committed to relieving some of that strain on our troops and their family," she said.
Families like the Meaney's. Kristopher Meaney, an intelligence officer, just returned from Afghanistan. He and his wife Melissa have four children.
"Pretty tough, my two older have ADHD and this is in the terrible twos," his wife said of the long separation. "It was tough."
"I go out to sea. I do it for this country. I do to support my family and it takes a strong woman like my wife to take of four children by herself," Kristopher said.
"It means a lot that she is thinking about the military spouses," military wife Patrina Zallander said of Michelle Obama's visit. "I see from Barack being in Washington sometimes, and her and the kids being in their home state. I think she understands what it is to have your spouse gone.
Families like the Meany's the the Zallander's are what prompted the visit by the first lady.
"This is why I have made it a personal priority to ask all American to join the cause of supporting our military families," Mrs. Obama said.
This is the first lady's second visit to Virginia in less than a week. She was here Monday visiting health clinic and talking health care.