VFA-143 Homecoming – Oceana Master Air Base

I received a unique opportunity to photograph the homecoming of F-18 fighter squad VFA-143 (Pukin Dogs) this week.  Shelby called me about three months ago to arrange  photographing her husbands squad coming home from a six month deployment.  This was a surprise for him because while at sea he was promoted to CO of VFA-143 Pukin Dogs and she wanted his first return home as CO captured.   Not to mention that his first child was born two days prior to his deployment and Shelby wanted him photographed seeing his daughter also.  It was an extreme honor for me to do this, I have a huge respect for fighter pilots and their families.  Shelby, thank you for this opportunity… I will never forget it.

That’s CO Ellzey in the front, leading the way for F-18 squad VFA-143 Pukin Dogs.

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My office chair looks nothing like that, bummer.

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Nice action sequence of Shelby welcoming home her man.

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First time in CO Ellzey see’s his baby since leaving her at two days old.

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This was my favorite shot of the day.  As CO Ellzey enjoys a moment with his daughter just before the press comes over for an interview.

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Be careful Jake, I think she’s teething

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CO Ellzey’s office.

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August 24, 2009 - 3:33 pm

Kelly Carroll - We are all Very proud of your accomplishments. I have used you as an example to my classes of how dreams can come true if you put your mind and heart into it. Your family is beautiful….

August 4, 2009 - 9:17 am

Lea - I am so thrilled you are back Jake and I love all the pictures. I want to thank both you and Shelby for what you are doing for out country. I love you both.

PS I am jumping up and down looking at the homecoming. Fabulous.

August 3, 2009 - 9:26 pm

Dee Ledbetter - What a treasure these pictures are!!! They are amazing! What a pleasure it is to share in this special homecoming! Thank God for His protection of our troups and a safe homecoming!! It is such a sacrifice our service men and women make for our freedom; a greater personal sacrifice as well!! We are grateful, America is blessed by their committment to serve and protect! I am humbled by their courage!!! Welcome Home!!!!!! Dee Ledbetter

August 2, 2009 - 3:02 pm

Julie Ellis - I’m Jake’s Mother, Shelby’s mother-in law, McCall’s grandmother!
I’m shedding tears from looking at my beautiful family. We have to understand and fully respect the sacrifices made by our service men and women and their families. The pictures tell the story!
Carl and I have been through many deployments with Jake. It does not get easier even though we have total confidence in his professional abilities. This was the hardest as he had to leave Shelby and McCall. It’s great seeing this wonderful reunion.
God Bless America!
Julie and Carl Ellis

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