The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Sunday after deployments totaling nearly eight months. Photo courtesy of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower/Twitter
July 19 (UPI) -- The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to its Virginia homeport after back-to-back deployments of nearly eight months, the Navy announced.
The ship, with about 1,000 sailors and officers aboard, arrived at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Sunday, with hundreds of families greeting them.
The ship was deployed in February 2020 and again in February 2021 -- for 320 of the last 514 days, excluding training exercises -- with the 5th and 6th Fleets.
For many aboard the ship, the arrival was their first time on land since February, according to USNI.
Two destroyers of the carrier strike group, the USS Laboon and the USS Thomas Hudner, returned to their homeports several days earlier, and Carrier Wing 3, the aircraft normally stationed aboard the aircraft carrier, returned last week.
The deployments were largely confined to the North Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, to support the fight against the Islamic State, as a show of force against Iran and later as support for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
With the 6th Fleet, the aircraft carrier conducted exercises with the Moroccan navy and air force and participated in the multi-nation Exercise Sea Shield 21, hosted by Romania.
It also participated in drills with the militaries of Israel, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Albania.
Serving with the 5th Fleet, the vessel and the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle conducted dual carrier operations in the Arabian Sea.
The Eisenhower later participated in maritime surface warfare exercises with the navies and air forces of Canada, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Forces Central.
"They were supposed to remain in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic but they ended up spending most of their deployment in the Middle East," U.S. 2nd Fleet commander Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis said on Saturday.
"Their previous deployment was in the Middle East, too. They've had a couple of port visits but it's not much to write home about," Lewis said.