The aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower transits the Suez Canal on June 13. The carrier and its strike group will return to the U.S. on July 3. (MC2 Matthew Cole / Navy)
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Sailors attached to the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group are scheduled for another holiday homecoming — but this time, they’ll be able to unpack.
Members of the CSG, which includes the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, cruiser Hue City, Carrier Air Wing 7 and Destroyer Squadron 28, will be back in their home ports — Norfolk, Va., or Mayport, Fla. — on July 3, according to Fleet Forces Command’s official Facebook page. Ike left 5th Fleet June 13 for the return home, according to a Navy news release.
The return marks the end of a 13-month split deployment for more than 5,000 sailors. Ike left Norfolk in June 2012 for what was expected to be a nine-month journey, but unexpected repairs to the carrier Nimitz delayed that vessel’s departure, forcing an unusual schedule onto Ike sailors.
Instead of remaining in 5th Fleet until early 2013, Ike returned to Norfolk just before Christmas for a flight-deck resurfacing, heading back to 5th Fleet in March.
The Nimitz arrived in 5th Fleet on June 9, according to a Navy release.
The German frigate Hamburg sailed with the Ike CSG during its redeployment — a first for a German ship, according to the Navy.
Three U.S. destroyers — Farragut, Jason Dunham and Winston S. Churchill — that were initially part of the strike group remained in 5th Fleet when Ike returned briefly to Norfolk in December. Those ships returned to the U.S. in late March and early April.