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USS Stennis returns to its home port

Elaine Thompson / AP

Demi Hines kisses her husband airman Michael Hines on the return of the USS Stennis to Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton on March 2 in Bremerton, Wash. Airman Hines finished his first deployment aboard the ship.

Families welcomed home their sailors Friday at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton in Bremerton, Wash. when the USS John C. Stennis returned to its home port.

The Stennis completed a seven-month deployment in which the aircraft carrier launched the last Navy air mission over Iraq and more than 1,000 flights over Afghanistan.

A spokeswoman, Lt. Cmdr. Cindy Fields, says the final Iraq flight on Dec. 18 was a surveillance mission in support of Iraqi forces as U.S. forces withdrew. The carrier unloaded its air wing earlier in the week at San Diego.

-- The Associated Press

Elaine Thompson / AP

Richard Dell, of Altoona, Pa., wipes away joyful tears as he watches the return of the USS Stennis, with his daughter Chelsea Dell aboard on March 2 in Bremerton, Wash.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Sailor Thomas Crawford greets his 6-week-old son, Casey Crawford, for the first time after arriving to the Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton aboard the USS Stennis.