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Carrier returns to San Diego after assisting troops in Afghanistan

April 30, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • A couple reunites at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado as the Stennis Strike Group returns after an eight-month deployment.
A couple reunites at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado as the Stennis… (Seaman Apprentice Ryan…)

For every community there are iconic moments that speak to the civic essence.

For San Diego those moments are the worrisome departure of Navy and Marine units for far-off war zones and then, months later, their joyous return.

And so it was Monday as the strike group led by the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis returned after an eight-month deployment in the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf, including providing air cover for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Hundreds of family members awaited at North Island Naval Air Station and the 32nd Street Naval Base.

The guided-missile cruiser Mobile Bay supported air defense for the Stennis, which stopped in San Diego on its way to its home port in Bremerton, Wash. The carrier air wing was comprised of nine squadrons.

Aircraft from the Stennis flew more than 10,000 missions during the deployment, totaling 30,400 flight hours.

Troops on the ground "depended on us and we never let them down," said air wing commander Capt. Dell Bull.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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