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SD Mobile Bay

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and two helicopter squadrons attached to the John C. Stennis Strike Group arrived in San Diego today following a deployment.

The arrival included a stop by the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis at NAS North Island on its way to its homeport in Bremerton, Wash. The Navy didn't specify how long the carrier would stay other than to say it would be brief.

The estimated 5,000 officers and enlisted personnel assigned to the Mobile Bay, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron-71, and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron-8 have been on deployment since early September, mostly in the Middle East and Western Pacific.

``I am extremely proud of the collective accomplishments and sacrifices of this team and everything they have done from preparation through execution of their eight-month surge deployment," said Capt. Timothy Kott, the Mobile Bay's commanding officer. `` ... they have exhibited great resiliency, morale, and a selfless commitment to the success of each other.''

The cruiser provided air defense for the strike group.

Kott, who took command from Capt. Thomas Halvorson last month, also praised the support sailors received from families and friends back home.

Last October, Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette was removed as the strike group's commander during an investigation into an accusation of ``inappropriate leadership judgment.'' The New York Times reported last month that he was disciplined for using profanity in a public setting and making at least two racially insensitive comments.

The Ticonderoga-class cruiser is named for the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

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