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Carrier Air Wing 3 comes home after seven-month deployment

Carrier Air Wing 3 comes home after seven-month deployment
An F/A18-E Super Hornet fighter plane of Carrier Air Wing 3 sits aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which returned home on Tuesday after a seven-month deployment. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

July 14 (UPI) -- The nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 3 returned home this week from a six-month deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the U.S. Navy announced.

The units, which primarily fly versions of F/A-18 fighter planes as well as helicopters and support aircraft, are known collectively as CVW-3.

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They arrived at their home bases at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.; Naval Station Norfolk, Va.; Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., on Tuesday, the Navy said in a press release.

The aircraft carrier began its trip from the Mediterranean Sea to Naval Station Norfolk, its home port, last week.

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The ship, its strike group and the air wing left Norfolk on Feb. 18 for deployment after completing COMPUTEX, a training exercise involving drills using NATO procedures and messaging formats, and exercises with Navy SEALs of an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare Group.

The group traveled to the Arabian Sea, supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel, and to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, to participate in Operation Inherent Resolve.

In March, CVW-3 launched missiles against Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria from the strike group's position in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and was later involved in support of the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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The wing also participated in exercises with Morocco's navy and air force, conducted dual-carrier flight operations with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and participated in exercises with military forces of Canada, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

CVW-3 conducted 6,100 sorties and over 12,000 flight-hours during the deployment, a Navy statement on Tuesday said. The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group relieved the Eisenhower force in June.

"We are on our second of two deployments in two years, but for this specific deployment, we had the honor and the privilege of closing on the 20-year war, specifically Afghanistan," Capt. Marcos Jasso, commander of Air Wing 3, told WAVY-TV, Portsmouth, Va.

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