Aircraft carrier returns today after eight-month deployment


The aircraft carrier Nimitz and three ships in its strike group will return to San Diego on Friday following an eight-month deployment.

Also returning are the guided-missile destroyers Pinckney and Sampson and the guided-missile frigate Rentz, according to the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet.

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group left San Diego July 31. During the deployment, the strike group conducted maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf, and the carrier’s air wing flew combat operations in Afghanistan, said Rear Adm. Robert Girrier.

More than 2,600 sorties were launched from the carrier in support of coalition ground forces in Afghanistan, he said.

Destroyers attached to the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group also took part in counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa and protected Iraqi infrastructure in the Persian Gulf, according to Girrier.

The Nimitz made port stops in Japan, Singapore, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Named after World War II Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, the nation’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was commissioned in 1975.