WAVY News Staff - NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More than 6,000 sailors with the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group returned home Friday following a seven-month deployment.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto and guided-missile destroyers USS Mason and USS Nitze all returned to Naval Station Norfolk.
The Ike arrived home around 8 a.m. Friday to a large gathering of friends, family and loved ones who showed up to base in frigid temperatures.
Adm. Phil Davidson reported Friday that all sailors aboard the Eisenhower made it home from the deployment. The Nitze and Mason returned home closer to noon on Friday.
10 On Your Side was pier-side for the group's regularly scheduled deployment in early June.
Navy officials say the group was deployed to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. While deployed, the group launched F/A-18 strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq.
The Nitze took out several Yemeni radar sites, and rescued a few fisherman in the Arabian Sea.
Rear Adm. Jim Malloy, the strike group's commander, called the deployment "a success." He said the strike group dropped over 1 million pounds of bombs for Operation Inherent Resolve.
Friday morning's ceremonies, however, were more about the sailors and what it meant for them to return to their families.
One sailor who spoke to 10 On Your Side Friday said his son was born just a month into the deployment.
Lt. JG Jonathon Perez said, "I hope one day that he's proud of the things that I did … maybe one day he'll be wearing by JG bars one day, and on one of these carriers serving his country the way I did."
Local squadrons with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Three, which were a part of the strike group, all returned home Thursday. This included squadrons from Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and Norfolk.
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