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Nimitz Returns from Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Release Date: 10/3/2007 5:27:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chelsea J. Kennedy, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Approximately 2,000 family members and friends showed up at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., Sept. 30 to greet the Sailors and Marines of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) after the ship completed a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf.

Loved ones arrived in the morning to greet the more than 5,000 service members disembarking the ship. Many spectators waived flags and held banners welcoming them home.

Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Chris Cortez got the coveted first kiss.

“I’m so glad we got picked to be first,” said Cortez's wife. “It’s just awesome to have him home. I love him so much.”

Also, many fathers aboard Nimitz held their newborn babies for the first time.

"It was hard being away; my baby was born two weeks after I left,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Christopher Masterson, assigned to Nimitz. “I’m just overwhelmed getting to see my daughter for the first time.”

More than 1,200 family members and friends greeted their service members in Hawaii when they embarked aboard Nimitz for the last stretch of the ship’s six-month deployment, known as Tiger Cruise.

Tiger Cruise immerses family members into Navy life; eating, sleeping and experiencing firsthand what Sailors and Marines experience while living aboard a naval vessel.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Cmdr. Kevin Head, assigned to Nimitz. “My kids got to do the Tiger Cruise with me, and they were able to see what dad does for a living and what everyone else does in the Navy.”

Nimitz’s mission while deployed was to promote peace, regional cooperation and stability. As the flagship for Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG), the ship provided security in the Persian Gulf, built community relations in India and Singapore and carried out exercises with other branches of the military near Guam.

Nimitz CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. Terry Blake, was comprised of Commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, Carrier Air Wing 11 and Destroyer Squadron 23. Nimitz CSG includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Nimitz; guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59); guided-missile destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); two detachments from the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49, the “Scorpions,” and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15.

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