Crews of USS New York, Iwo Jima home for the holidays

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by Mike Gooding, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 7:24 AM

NORFOLK -- USS New York arrived at Naval Station Norfolk Thursday morning, completing the ship's first deployment.

Also arriving  Thursday was the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima.

In November, just as the two ships were headed home after eight months of deployment, tensions flared in the Israel-Gaza conflict and the Navy ordered the ships to return to the Middle East.

 

The ships were sent to Eastern Mediterannean Sea, and ordered to stand by in case they were need to conduct humanitarian evacuations of American citizens. In the end, that mission never took place.

 

Instead of arriving in Norfolk shortly after Thanksgiving, the crews are now home just in time for Christmas, nearly nine months after they deployed on March 28.

It's a big week for homecomings in Norfolk. Wednesday, nearly 4000 sailors aboard USS Eisenhower arrived in Norfolk following a six-month deployment. 

Nearly 2000 sailors of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) are also home for the holidays. The dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall arrived at Little Creek Tuesday. 

Ship leaders said they were proud of their crews. The Navy says during the deployment, the Iwo Jima ARG  conducted more than 2,800 flight sorties and steamed more than 41,000 nautical miles.

Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary unit were offloaded in Morehead City, NC prior to Iwo Jima's return to Norfolk.

USS New York was constructed in part with steel recovered from the World Trade Center towers.

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