USS Dwight D. Eisenhower returns to Virginia

Family and friends wait for the USS Eisenhower to dock in Norfolk. (Photo: Walter Hildebrand/WAVY)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower returned to its homeport in Norfolk following an unusual split deployment.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier arrived at Naval Station Norfolk on Wednesday.

The Eisenhower's deployment to Europe and the Middle East occurred over nearly 13 months.

That time period includes a roughly 2-month return to Norfolk in December so it could resurface its flight deck and have other maintenance performed. The ship was charged with replacing the USS John C. Stennis in the Middle East following that maintenance when another West Coast-based aircraft carrier experienced mechanical problems that prevented it from replacing the Stennis.

Many sailors' families were upset the Eisenhower had to return to sea following that winter layover instead of having another Norfolk-based ship go instead.