NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – After nine months at sea, the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is returning home to Norfolk and Florida.
About 6,000 Sailors and Marines are making their way back this week. While deployed, the group supported maritime security operations, multinational exercises and Operation Enduring Freedom. On Friday, Rear Admiral Kevin M. Sweeney, Commander of the Carrier Strike Group, told WAVY.com the mission was a success.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our sailors and marines,” Sweeney said. “Over 40 percent of the strike group staff and all the crew, it’s their first deployment, and they just did fabulous. The performance, seven and a half straight months in the Middle East region, was just flawless.”
The Carrier Strike Group includes Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 staff; Carrier Air Wing 3; 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron staff, comprised of U.S. and Royal Navy personnel; aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman; guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley and USS Mason; guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg and USS San Jacinto; and fast combat support ship USNS Arctic.
The Navy said all but the Gettysburg will return to Norfolk.
On Friday, Commander Marcus Starks told WAVY.com he was surprised by how much his kids had changed during the past nine months. He talked about seeing the crowd as the carrier pulled into port: “You think, ‘Hey, I’m not overseas any more. I’m not in the Middle East. I’m at home.’ It feels so excellent, feels great to be home.”
Navy dad Pete Tamburro waited on shore with a Philadelphia Flyers jersey to wave at his son, Dominic. As the carrier pulled in, he spotted Dominic, who waved his own jersey back.
“I said I’d be on the dock waiting for him when he left. I said, ‘I’ll have the Flyers jersey up there for you,’” Tamburro said.
The Navy says the group also racked up the following during deployment:
- Root canals – 38
- Haircuts in barbershop – 21,153
- Pounds of laundry washed – 427,692
- Gallons of ice cream – 8,172
- Gallons of milk – 47,250
- Pounds of chicken wings – 117,660
- Pizzas – 156,192
- Hamburgers – 281,145
- Hog dogs – 1,366,200
- Waffles – 103,680
- Most sold item – Monster energy drink
- Most popular soda – Mountain Dew
- Most popular candy – Snickers
- Sea turtles rescued – 1