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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

USS Mobile Bay, Shiloh Arriving in San Diego

Aired April 25, 2003 - 12:55   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's homecoming day for hundreds of Americans who took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The USS Mobile Bay and the USS Shiloh are expected to dock in San Diego any minute now. CNN's Frank Buckley is aboard the Mobile Bay. Dave Mattingly is on dock where the family and friends are anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones. Let's go to Frank first -- Frank.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we are actually on the bridge of the USS Mobile Bay. I want to show you how close we are to San Diego. If you look right out here through the pilot house where we are, you can see the tug in front of us, right in front of us. The Shiloh leading the way in. And you can see the water and the time honored tradition of a welcome home shooting out. And thousands of people on the pier waiting right now for the families as they will be coming in to port very soon.

We want to step outside here on to the bridge wing and talk to one of the officers who is going to be headed in on this ship, Lieutenant Commander Thomas Shultz. And I'm tangled up here. Lieutenant Commander, thanks for joining us. It's been a difficult cruise for everybody in the sense you've been away from home for nine months, and you have a new 8-month-old daughter. Tell me what that's been like for you?

LT. CMDR. THOMAS SHULTZ, RETURNING SAILOR: It's been tough and hard just like you said. We were on our way for -- once, we got turned around and that was tough for the whole crew. But I think everyone knew that we had something to do, something very important to help the country, help the country of Iraq also.

It's been great. Great success by both Mobile Bay and Shiloh. It's great to be home. My family -- Teri, I love you. You've been the best. Any minute now, we just pasted Coronado Bridge (ph), so we're almost there. My 3-year-old daughter, Natalie (ph). Almost -- can't wait to get you in my arms. And Gabby (ph), I haven't seen her yet. She's almost 8-months-old. Can't wait. I can't wait.

BUCKLEY: I'd like to on that note throw it to David Mattingly on pier who's with Teri and the family. David, take it away.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Frank. Tom, I feel like have I to apologize to you because the country is getting a look at your daughter before you are today. She's got a touch of red hair just like her mom. She is absolutely beautiful.

Teri, what have you got to say to your husband?

TERI SHULTZ, WIFE OF RETURNING SAILOR: Hurry, hurry, hurry. We're waiting here patiently. Your whole family's here. We are so excited. I can't wait to see you.

MATTINGLY: it's been nine months. They've just passed the bridge. I mean, what are the thoughts going through your mind right now?

TERI SHULTZ: Nothing against you Dave, but I'd like to see my husband.

MATTINGLY: No offense taken. Tom, what have you got to say?

Well I have to tell you your older daughter was just a little bit anxious this morning. She can't understand why Daddy isn't here right now. Would you like to say something to your Daddy right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Daddy.

THOMAS SHULTZ: I love you Natalie. How are you doing? You ready for Daddy to come home?

MATTINGLY: Tom, I'm afraid she had a shy attack.

THOMAS SHUTLZ: Oh geez.

MATTINGLY: You'll just have to talk to Mom right now.

SHULTZ: OK.

TERI SHULTZ: Looking forward to it. Now the Navy band -- or the bagpipes are going. And we're just waiting for you guys to get around the corner.

THOMAS SHULTZ: Yes, any minute now. It should only be about five, ten minutes, honey.

TERI SHULTZ: OK.

THOMAS SHULTZ: We love you, love you too.

TERI SHULTZ: See you soon.

MATTINGLY: We're going to be hearing that quite a bit today. And you know, strange. I didn't know bagpipes were part of the Navy tradition but everything here is just part of a celebratory mood right now. So we'll go back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, David Mattingly and Frank Buckley. Very, very emotional reunions. We're going to have much more, much more of this coming up any minute now. These two war ships will be arriving on the dock in San Diego. A lot of happy sailors as well as a lot of happy family members, loved ones. We're going to be back out there with Frank Buckley and David Mattingly and a lot of happy sailors, as well. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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