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Aircraft carrier docks in Hawaii after eight-month deployment

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 7:44 a.m. HST, Apr 23, 2013

Hawaii on Sunday became the first stop back in the United States for the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis after an eight-month deployment to the Middle East and Western Pacific.

The carrier’s air crews flew more than 11,500 sorties totaling 27,000 flight hours. Port visits were made in Thailand, Malaysia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

“We are excited to be back in the U.S. after a very successful deployment,” Rear Adm. Mike 

Shoemaker, the Stennis strike group commander, said in a Navy release.

Shoemaker said the strike group provided “extensive support” to the war in Afghanistan.

The Stennis left its home port in Washington State in late August of 2012 — four months earlier than expected — to maintain a two-carrier presence in the Middle East.

The Pentagon, citing a budget crunch, has since dropped back to one carrier in the Middle East with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower relieving the Stennis in March as the sole aircraft carrier in the region.  

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