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USS Vinson returns from war to warm welcome

BREMERTON, Washington (CNN) -- Thousands of sailors received a warm -- if wet -- welcome Wednesday, when the USS Carl Vinson ended a six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea in its home port here.

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CNN's Lillian Kim is in Bremerton, Washington, as USS Vinson returns (January 23)

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Gallery: USS Carl Vinson homecoming 
 
EXTRA INFORMATION
Each of the ship's four propellers is 21 feet high and weighs 6,200 pounds.  
The ship's nuclear reactor has enough fuel for 20 years of normal operations.  
Source: USS Carl Vinson home page 
 

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier served as a launching platform for the first wave of air attacks on al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan.

Aircraft belonging to Carrier Airwing 11, attached to the Carl Vinson and its battle group, dropped around 2 million pounds of ordnance in Afghanistan in a span of three months.

The USS John Stennis, based in San Diego, California, replaced the Vinson in mid-December. The Vinson spent the past month heading home.

Hundreds of friends and relatives, including several babies born while the ship was away, braved the rain Wednesday in order to greet the carrier's crew.

Many sported balloons, posters and banners as the ship arrived in port around 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET).

The sailors departed the carrier about an hour later.

"I was so excited. We stayed up all night," said one sailor moments after greeting his wife and new baby in Bremerton. "It's such a good feeling to come home."



 
 
 
 



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