Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The USS Nimitz has left for its home port following a 10-month deployment, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
In a press release from the Department of Defense, Jonathan Rath Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, said acting defense secretary Chrostopher Miller "appreciates the hard work, commitment, and flexibility of more than 5,000 Sailors and Marines of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group."
The strike group "repeatedly demonstrated operational excellence in providing air support to combat operations against terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and ensuring maritime security in critical waterways," Raton Hoffman said.
Rath Hoffman also said the Nimitz crew "provided persistent air cover during the troop drawdowns in Afghanistan" and conducted operations and exercises in the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific areas of responsibility.
Earlier this week, the Nimitz Strike Group was positioned off the coast of Africa to support the relocation of U.S. troops from Somalia to other parts of East Africa.
The strike group includes the Nimitz, its air wing of 60 aircraft, two guided-missile cruisers and a guided-missile destroyer.
At the beginning of the month, the Pentagon announced that most of the 700 troops stationed in Somalia would be removed by early 2021.
U.S. Africa Command commander Gen. Stephen Townsend later clarified that the U.S. would maintain a presence in East Africa.