Carrier Air Wing 1's eight squadrons also made the stop at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California, for a break before heading back to Norfolk. Destroyer Squadron 2 returned to its East Coast home ports earlier this month.
"This has been a long and arduous deployment, operating in the extreme heat of the Arabian Gulf, and our sailors and Marines have performed," said Capt. Benjamin Hewlett, commander of Carrier Air Wing 1, in a Navy release. "The deck crew launched over 1,800 combat sorties into Iraq and Syria and the aircrew dropped over one million pounds of precision guided ordnance on Islamic State targets. We can all be justifiably proud of the impact that this air wing has had in the fight to destroy ISIL."
Those sorties added up to 10,618 flight hours and 1,085 guided munitions dropped successfully on Islamic State group targets and fighting positions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Together with the cruiser Normandy and the destroyers Farragut, Forrest Sherman and Winston S. Churchill, Carrier Strike Group 12 sailed nearly 27,000 nautical miles, making an early port visit to Portsmouth, England, and spending weeks off the coast of Yemen in an attempt to deter Iranian arms shipments into the country in the midst of a civil war.
The deployment also marked major aviation milestones. It was the first operational use of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye with the "Tigertails" of Carrier Early Airborne Warning Squadron 125, according to the release.
And it was an ending for the "Dragonslayers" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11, who completed the last active-duty operational deployment of both the HH-60H Rescue Hawk and SH-60F Seahawk.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT