"We did find out that he was coming home, and that was a big relief. And, of course, I starting calling family and friends."
Gayle Cazalas made sure the whole town of Gilmer knows her son, Melton, is coming home. He was able to leave the carrier Abraham Lincoln before it reached port, and is with his wife in Washington state.
We spoke with Melton by phone, and he said, "As soon as [my wife] saw me in the airport she started crying and wouldn't let go of me. It's nice to be back home. It's been a really long time."
The Lincoln was heading home over the winter, but was sent instead to the Persian Gulf. It took the wind out of Gayle's sails.
"It has been so hard. It's been a year since we've seen him -- he's been out on the aircraft carrier. And for a mother, that's really hard."
Carrier life isn't easy, but Melton got through.
"It's difficult being out there. It's really small quarters that we sleep in. You don't get a whole lot of sleep," he says.
Melton will be back in gilmer on May 17th, before heading to a stateside post in South Carolina.
When he gets here, it'll be a celebration.
"Yeah, it'll a decent size party," Melton says nonchalantlly.
Mom says it'll be a party like nobody's seen.
"We want everyone there to welcome him home. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be emotional."