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Navy ship that disposed of bin Laden's body docks in San Diego

June 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Osama bin Laden was buried at sea from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson and Wednesday the ship and its crew returned home to San Diego.

The aircraft carrier was in the North Arabian Sea when it received Navy SEAL Team 6, the team carrying Osama bin Laden's body, which was later placed in a weighted bag and dropped into the sea. Wednesday, the sailors who were on the ship on that fateful day were back in Southern California.

They waited anxiously for their loved ones to step off the USS Carl Vinson, and for the Rivera family from Virginia Beach, it was a long-awaited homecoming. It was a historic deployment for the men and women aboard the Vinson.

The thousands of sailors aboard the ship returned to their home port of Coronado Wednesday seven weeks after the ship carried Osama bin Laden's body to a burial at sea.

Sailors were not allowed to talk about the operation that took place in the North Arabian Sea on May 2. Some of their relatives back home were worried about their loved ones after learning about their mission.

"I was scared, to be honest with you. I was just worried, just wanted to talk to my husband make sure everybody was OK and make sure the ship was still coming home safely," said Sparkle Garnett, one sailor's wife.

"I was scared for all of their lives," said Tammy Kwiatkowski, mother of one of the sailors. "I was scared. I knew that they were going to be a marked ship."

Only the ship's rear admiral made a brief comment regarding the operation.

"It absolutely is historic and we're proud of that and fortunately it's one of those footnote histories," said US Navy Rear Admiral Samuel Perez.

The ship was on a six-month deployment and about 5,000 sailors were greeted by their loved ones who waved American flags and held up placards celebrating their safe return.

"Feels great, feels awesome, thank you very much," said one sailor, Pierre Garnett. "Feels great, I'm just happy to be here."

The Vinson will stay in its home port for the next several months. The Navy says its next deployment will likely happen sometime by the end of the year.

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