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Navy carrier strike group brings 7,000 sailors to Oahu

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 03:30 p.m. HST, Feb 17, 2012

About 7,000 sailors pulled into Pearl Harbor for leave with the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier strike group following a more than six-month deployment to the Middle East and Western Pacific.

The Stennis and its air wing, cruiser Mobile Bay and destroyers Pinckney, Kidd, Dewey and Wayne E. Meyer are stopping in Hawaii en route to their home ports on the West Coast, the Navy said.

The destroyer Wayne E. Meyer arrived Thursday, and the other ships came in today, officials said.

The 1,092-foot-long Stennis left Bremerton, Wash., on July 25 for a deployment that saw it launch fighter sorties in support of ground troops on Afghanistan. It also operated in the Persian Gulf.

The carrier's air wing flew the Navy's final air mission over Iraq Dec. 18, effectively ending naval support for Operation New Dawn.

From there the Stennis transited the Strait of Hormuz, with Iran issuing a warning "not to return to the Persian Gulf."

Another carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, entered the Gulf on Jan. 22 and passed through the Strait of Hormuz Tuesday with Iranian gunboats making their presence known.

"Flying the last Navy air mission in Iraq was a historic achievement for all of us," Capt. Dale Horan, commander of Carrier Air Wing 9 on Stennis, was quoted in a Navy news story as saying.

"Everyone in this strike group played a part in making that happen and it's a part of history we will always share," Horan said.

In January, after transitioning to supporting operations in Afghanistan, the Stennis strike group thwarted an attempted pirate attack on a Bahamian-flagged cargo vessel, then freed a group of Iranian mariners held captive by the same crew of suspected pirates, the Navy said.

Ships with the Stennis strike group stopped in Port Klang, Malaysia, and Jebil Ali, United Arab Emirates.

In the Western Pacific, the strike group conducted several readiness exercises with partner countries in the region and also made visits to Singapore and the Philippines.

The air wing flew 13,389 sorties in support of Afghanistan and Iraq missions, the Navy said.

Early in the deployment, the strike group conducted more than 200 hours training in Hawaii waters.

"The Hawaii Training Range Complex provided realistic and challenging training opportunities for our air wing," Horan said.

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Locokane wrote:
Hip, hip, hooray for the Navy in helping Hawaii with a task force stopping over before returning home. I just hope the Hawaii Tourism Authority doesn't take credit for this and ask the State Legislature to raise their $70M budget citing this as one of their successes! The HTA ability to get more tourists to Hawaii is OVERRATED and spends significant money on mainland advertising firms and out-of-state tourist representatives which don't help create work or jobs in Hawaii!
on February 17,2012 | 04:54AM
kailuabred wrote:
C'mon sailors. The water is warm and the beer is cold. Spend those hard earned $$ in our beautiful state!
on February 17,2012 | 05:25AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Better yet Kailua, go to Dukes Waikiki and buy the first round!
on February 17,2012 | 08:29AM
olos73 wrote:
Don't go to Kailua, though. You can't ride your kayak there.
on February 17,2012 | 12:03PM
konakeoni99 wrote:
welcome home Sailors :D
on February 17,2012 | 07:06AM
GeoDiva wrote:
Guess my garage door opener won't work till the carrier leaves.
on February 17,2012 | 07:19AM
Vivgie wrote:
Yes, let's treat these guys nice. We want to give these gentlemen good first impressions. Don't mistreat them. They're Americans! Like us.
on February 17,2012 | 07:24AM
9ronboz wrote:
go Navy!
on February 17,2012 | 07:58AM
localguy wrote:
Welcome back to the USA. Thank you for your service. Have a great family reunion when you return to home port. Well Done!!!
on February 17,2012 | 08:02AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Call out the extra lifeguards. Hope The surf is down when they get in.
on February 17,2012 | 08:26AM
Fred01 wrote:
Stupid comment.
on February 17,2012 | 08:57AM
9ronboz wrote:
typical anti-military, anti-business and anti-tourism incoherent individual
on February 17,2012 | 10:38AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Not so stupid, Im all for the safety of these soldiers on leave. Remember these are some young twenty- something boys that sometimes over do the alcohol. If fact some will have to break the law just to drink. Drugs and alcohol are part of the culture.
on February 17,2012 | 04:09PM
kailua000 wrote:
Drugs and Alcohol are part of the culture? Really, thats what you think? Well, being from Nanakuli you must know about drugs and alcohol, so takes one to know one I suppose.
on February 17,2012 | 05:30PM
9ronboz wrote:
tribal mentality
on February 17,2012 | 10:57PM
stingray65 wrote:
NanakuliBoss. Do you know that Military keep this island afloat? All the Military Bases close down can you provide jobs? Wake up and smell the coffee..85% of the income directly and indirectly come from Military on this Islands..Tourism cannot do it all...:)
on February 17,2012 | 04:10PM
Kalli wrote:
bravo zulu
on February 17,2012 | 11:54AM
roadsterred wrote:
Thank you to all of you for your service. Please enjoy your brief stay in Hawaii and be safe.
on February 17,2012 | 07:29PM
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