USS Fort Worth returns from Southeast Asia

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PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 25, 2014) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) provides a sea-going platform for a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter from U.S. Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade to conduct deck landing qualifications off the coast of Hawaii. Fort Worth departed its homeport of San Diego Nov. 17 for a 16-month rotational deployment to Southeast Asia in support of the Navy’s strategic rebalance to the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Antonio P. Turretto Ramos/Released)

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CORONADO, Calif. – Sailors deployed in Southeast Asia aboard the USS Fort Worth were greeted by loved ones at Naval Air Station North Island Wednesday after four months away.

The crew was part of a new strategy by the Navy that deploys sailors in rotations of four months, keeping the ship abroad for 16-month turns. The returning sailors are being replaced by a crew that flew out of North Island a little more than a week ago.

The USS Fort Worth is a smaller Littoral Battle Ship, meaning it’s built to stay close the land to support other missions. For now, these sailors are just happy to be reunited with their families.

“Seeing their smiling faces and hugging and kissing them – there’s nothing like it,” said Lt. Paul Richardson.

As part of their mission, the sailors were tasked to help with the search and recovery effort of the downed AirAsia flight that crashed into the Java Sea Dec. 28., killing all 162 people on board.

“It’s a real-world mission to be able to provide some closure to Indonesian families,” said Commander Kendall Bridgewater. “We felt pretty good about that.”

But for now, the work is far from the minds of these men and women. They are just happy to be back in the arms of their loved ones and planning their short time together.

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