JAYMES SONG,Associated Press
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — The aircraft carrier that buried Osama bin Laden’s body at sea was due to stop in Hawaii on Tuesday as it returns home to San Diego following a six-month deployment in the Middle East and Asia.
The ship was due to arrive in Pearl Harbor for a scheduled port visit, touching U.S. soil for the first time since it was deployed Nov. 30.
The USS Carl Vinson was in the North Arabian Sea last month when it received a Navy SEAL team carrying bin Laden’s body. Navy SEALs killed the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks during a May 2 raid on a walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Pentagon officials have said bin Laden’s body was placed in a weighted bag on the carrier, that an officer made religious remarks and that the remains were put on a board and tipped into the sea.
Named after the Georgia congressman who died in 1981, the massive carrier and its 5,500 sailors, pilots and crew were returning home from their historic deployment, when it spent 171 of 191 days at sea and sailed more than 52,340 nautical miles.
The Carl Vinson serves as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 1 led by Rear Adm. Samuel Perez. From Feb. 6 to May 1, Carrier Air Wing 17 deployed 17,000 lbs. of ordnance and 2,900 rounds of 20mm ammunition.
It also conducted exercises with South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Britain, France and Australia in addition to responding to two piracy attempts on civilian vessels.
The carrier hosted numerous visitors from Philippines President Philippines Beningo Aquino III to the Super Bowl champions Green Bay Packers.
USS Carl Vinson: http://www.facebook.com/ussvinson
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