POSTED: 02:02 p.m. HST, Dec 03, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 01:41 a.m. HST, Dec 04, 2013
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz pulled into Pearl Harbor Tuesday after an extended deployment that saw the big ship positioned for support of a possible strike on Syria in September.
The crew and air wing totalling about 5,000 are in port for a few days before the carrier heads to San Diego and then to its home port of Everett, Wash. by Christmas.
Like a lot of ships that come into Pearl Harbor, the Nimitz sailed past the sunken USS Arizona. The upcoming anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack provided a little extra pause.
"Aloha, Hawaii," the ship said on its Facebook page. "It's wonderful to be back in the States! Looking forward to our tigers (family visitors) arriving and enjoying the beauty of this place. Still, it's a humbling experience to look out over the flight deck and see the USS Arizona Memorial and know that 72 years ago this week they sacrificed all their tomorrows so that we may have ours."
The Nimitz, which left Everett, Wash. March 30, was supposed to return to the United States in August, but was ordered to remain in the Middle East as officials weighed strikes on Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons.
The carrier and four other ships moved into the Red Sea in early September as five destroyers prepared for orders in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Nimitz entered the Mediterranean in late October for exercises, and by early November the decision was made to send the carrier back home.
U.S. Pacific Fleet almost ordered the carrier to help in the Philippines with typhoon relief, but decided it wasn't needed.
The ship said on its web page that during the extended deployment, it pinned 58 chief petty officers, covered more than 57,000 nautical miles, flew missions in support of the war in Afghanistan, and made port calls in South Korea, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Italy.