Photo provided by the Dobbins Family
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. -- Lieutenant JG Tradd Dobbins returned home to his family last week after being deployed for six months on board the USS Hue City, but before his family captured his 'welcome back home,' they captured everything else.
"He knew we were going to Cozumel for a week on vacation and he said 'I want you to take me with you,' and my daughter and I said 'Okay, we're going to take that literally so we're taking him with us,'" said Tradd's mom Angie Dobbins.
So they took Flat Tradd on the vacation in July right after her son had deployed.
While the sailor was on duty as a service warfare officer in the Arabian Sea assisting with Operation Enduring Freedom, another version of him went para sailing in Mexico, went to Gator games, dressed up for Halloween and was even home for Thanksgiving.
"In the beginning it was a kind of, it was a little bit rough you know, you get homesick. For me to be able to call home and then see all of these pictures, it kind of kept me close and brought me back home so it was a great thing to have," said Tradd.
Dobbins was tagged on Facebook for every picture and got to see all the places he had been to with his family -- well, sort of.
"Well having two sons in the military, I knew that deployment was inevitable and I never realized how difficult it was going to be with having him gone and this was just a fun way to have him with us," said Angie.
And now he's back home. 300 sailors returned early from deployment just in time for Christmas.
"We didn't expect this because like my brother said he was supposed to come back in March, so it's just great to have the whole family unit back," says Lt. JG Robbie Dobbins, Tradd's brother.
But next year, Dobbins will be deployed again and his brother Robbie will also face his first deployment, meaning a 'Flat Robbie' may be joining 'Flat Tradd.'
"I do plan on having for Robbie whenever he goes and leaves we're going to get rid of these pictures and get a full figurine cut out of him," says Dobbins.
The entire family says they are grateful to have real Tradd home for the holidays.
"On behalf of the Dobbins family, I just wanted to wish every deployed sailor and service member a Merry Christmas and thank you, you have the watch," said Dobbins.
First Coast News