Returning for a short break from his sixth tour of duty, U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Kevin Devine of Aquinnah saw a big welcome home, Island-style, on Sunday.

Sergeant Major greets his sister Stephanie Devine. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Devine, 45, will have served 26 years in the military this August, including deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. He returns to active duty after a week on the Vineyard.

At the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority terminal Sunday morning, a crowd of family, friends and strangers gathered at the end of the dock. Uniformed representatives from the Vineyard Haven American Legion and the VFW stood at attention. Two Oak Bluffs fire engines were parked at the dock with a third by the terminal, with an American flag suspended from an extended ladder. Police vehicles from every Island town as well as a state trooper were on hand as well.

Woody Williams, a Viet Nam War veteran who served in the Marine Corps, helped organize the welcome. “I’ve known Kevin since he was a little kid. I grew up with his father,” he said, referring to Kevin’s father Herbert Devine.

Mr. Devine was meant to return to the Vineyard on Saturday but plans were stalled when three of his men were lost and he stayed to attend the funerals.

Devine family celebrates homecoming. — Ray Ewing

On Sunday morning at 9:15 he drove a black truck off the ferry. In the truck with him was his father Herbert, his wife Tabitha and his daughter Kylie. His sister, Stephanie Devine, held a sign made by her children Dejana and Juelian Gentry that said “Welcome Home Uncle Kevin.” Dejana held another sign reading “We love you.”

Stephanie said Mr. Devine was not the type to look for recognition and she had to fight him to allow a return celebration. “He’s just not that out there. He’s a humble guy” she said.

Mr. Devine is a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). His mother Wendy Oliver said she hopes he can have some needed down time “He must be running on empty,” she said.

The black truck rolled onto the dock and Sergeant Major Devine got out to greet his family. After much applause, hugs and handshakes, Sergeant Major Devine and his wife and father drove up the dock, where they again paused to greet a larger crowd by the terminal. “It feels so good to be home,” he said.