Sailors man the rails aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as the aircraft carrier returns to Naval Base Kitsap, Dec. 10. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Dakota Rayburn)

BREMERTON, Wash. - Washington-based ships assigned to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 returned Dec. 10, just in time for the upcoming holidays following a six-month deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and the Arabian Gulf.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), with embarked CSG 11 staff, returned home to Naval Base Kitsap, and the guided-missile destroyers USS Shoup (DDG 86) and USS Kidd (DDG 100) returned to Naval Station Everett.

The strike group also consists of Nimitz, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, and the guided-missile cruisers USS Princeton (CG 59) and USS Lake Erie (CG 70). The air wing and DESRON command staff disembarked in San Diego Dec. 5, along with the guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83). Princeton returned to San Diego Dec. 6 and USS Pinckney (DDG 91), and Lake Erie returned to their homeport of San Diego Dec. 10.

CVW-11 consists of Lemoore, California-based Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, VFA 154, VFA 146, Whidbey Island, Washington-based Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, Norfolk, Va.-based Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, and San Diego-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.

The strike group sailed more than 78,000 miles during the deployment (equivalent to approximately five times around the world), flew over 1,000 combat sorties into Iraq and Syria, and dropped over 900 pieces of ordnance. The strike group conducted training and operations with the French Marine Nationale, Indian Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy, Royal Australian Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy. These included Exercise Malabar 2017 in the Indian Ocean, Intrepid Sentinel in the Gulf of Oman and landmark Three-Carrier Strike Force Operations in the Western Pacific. In addition, the strike group conducted visit, board, search and seizure drills, close-in coordinated maneuvers, flag hoisting drills, sea surveillance, replenishments-at-sea, maritime patrol and reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal operations, and air, surface and anti-submarine warfare training.

“I am very proud of the entire strike group and all that our Sailors and Marines accomplished during this deployment,” said Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, commander of the Nimitz Strike Group. “The team demonstrated the professionalism, strength, and resolve of the U.S. Navy around the world. They battled through the intense heat of the Arabian Gulf to conduct operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, and now it’s time for all of us to get back and enjoy some well-deserved family time.”

Over the six-month span, the strike group conducted port visits in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Chennai, India; Manama, Bahrain; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Hamad, Qatar; Duqm, Oman; Pattaya, Thailand; and Sasebo, Japan. Sailors participated in numerous volunteer events, including interacting with children at schools, visiting patients at hospitals, and socializing with animals at shelters. Pinckney Sailors also participated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 50th anniversary celebration in Thailand, which included an International Fleet Review, conferences and a parade.

Nimitz Strike Group is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet, which leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.

Senior Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Jason Hewitt, assigned to USS Nimitz (CVN 68), meets his son the pier. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Ian Kinkead)
Seaman Tiara Pineda, left, and Seaman Garrett Whipple, handle line aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as the aircraft carrier returns to its homeport. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Holly L. Herline)
USS Kidd (DDG 100) returns to Naval Station Everett, Dec. 10. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Joseph Montemarano)
A USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Sailor is greeted on the pier after the aircraft carrier's return home. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Sierra D. Langdon)
Lt.j.g Matthew Elliott, assigned to USS Shoup (DDG 86), greets his son on the pier. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Joseph Montemarano)