- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 31, 2020

The USS Nimitz is finally heading home after almost 10 months on deployment, with the aircraft carrier spending its final 10 days supporting military operations in the Horn of Africa.

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group has been providing close air support to Joint Task Force-Quartz and Operation Octave Quartz since Dec. 21, 2020. The task force is responsible for repositioning U.S. forces within East Africa while continuing to maintain pressure on violent extremists in the region, officials said.

Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller directed the Nimitz to head straight to its home port at Naval Base Kitsap in the Pacific Northwest.

“The Nimitz team provided persistent air cover during the troop drawdowns in Afghanistan and conducted operations and exercises that strengthened enduring partnerships and alliances in the U.S. Central and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command areas of responsibility,” said chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman. “The Secretary appreciates the hard work, commitment and flexibility of more than 5,000 sailors and Marines of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.”

The sailors went aboard the carrier in early April for a period of isolation before leaving port on April 27. During deployment, shore leaves was restricted to pierside port visits in Guam, Oman and Bahrain, Navy officials said.

The Nimitz took part in Operation Inherent Resolve — the U.S. led coalition against the Islamic State — and Operation Malabar 2020, a series of naval exercises with India and Japan. The Nimitz strike group also conducted dual-carrier operations with the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan.

“The sacrifices and services of the sailors, Marines and their families is greatly appreciated,” said Mr. Hoffman. “We are glad that we can conclude 2020 by announcing these warriors are heading home.”

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