Local Navy Officer Comes Home To Meet Newborn After Deployment

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) -- The holiday season brings friends and family together from across towns and across the world.

Navy Petty Officer Zachary Behrend spent seven months travelling around the Pacific Ocean on USS Boxer. The ship finally ported in San Diego where he met his wife and newborn son, Keller. It was the first time being able to meet Keller in person.

"I was almost in shock. I had the biggest smile on my face, the biggest grin. I was just so happy, in the moment to have him right in my arms," said Behrend.

Behrend was deployed during Keller's birth in August. He is a mass communications specialist - taking pictures and telling stories of everyone on board. His team of MC's was like his family.

"There're only so many times I can hear her voice, so to have those people to be there with you to talk to, to lean on, it keeps you sane," Petty Officer Behrend said.

Zachary's real family is a duel serving family. Vanessa is also a mass communications specialist. The two met in 2017 while training. She says being a duel serving family is rewarding.

"It's an honor. We get the best of both worlds. I'm able to be home and care for our children and do my part on the weekends. And he's out there on active duty," said Vanessa, who serves in the reserves.

While Zachary is away, Vanessa takes care of a crew of her own.  She has four other kids, ranging from 10 to 16-years-old. She says it's all hands on deck.

"There's times where you're walking out of the grocery store with sixteen bags and five kids and you have someone calling telling you your dog got out," said the reserve officer.

Before Behrend's deployment, the couple got married, had a gender reveal and went on a road trip visiting three national parks. They look to stay busy throughout the holidays with plenty of family activities, but for now Zachary looks to take it easy with newborn Keller.

"It's been the same old song and dance for a while so it'd be nice to just sit back and relax," said Behrend.

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