USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Returns

About 12,000 sailors aboard ships in the Nimitz and Tarawa strike groups returned to loved ones in San Diego Tuesday following deployments to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf.

The aircraft carrier Nimitz spent four months as a replacement for the Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier based in Japan that was undergoing maintenance in Yokosuka, Japan, according to the Navy.

During its deployment with the guided-missile cruiser Princeton and guided-missile destroyer Higgins, the Nimitz conducted training exercises with South Korea, Navy officials said.

Also returning to San Diego were Marines and three ships with the Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group following completion of a seven-month deployment in support of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cruising into San Diego Bay throughout the morning was the amphibious assault ship Tarawa, amphibious transport dock Cleveland, and the dock landing ship Germantown. The Marines were attached to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, according to the Navy.

Jennifer Chambers told a local TV station while waiting for her husband that he was on his fourth deployment in their 10 years of marriage.

"The first month (apart) and the last month are always the hardest," Chambers said.

"I've been thinking to have the whole entire house clean so he can come home," a young Temecula girl waiting for her father in the Tarawa group told 10News.

Her mother told the station she was ready for her husband to reassume certain chores, like mowing the lawn, cleaning up after the dog and changing the toddler.

"I'm done changing diapers," she said.

While in the Persian Gulf, the forces conducted maritime security, combat air missions in Iraq and operations in Afghanistan, according to the military.

En route, the strike group also stopped in Bangladesh to deliver disaster relief in the wake of a cyclone and later went to the African nation of Djibouti to provide medical and dental assistance.

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