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(Joseph Giordono/Stars and Stripes)

USS Kitty Hawk, Dec. 23, 2001: A crew member gives the thumbs-up before the final plane of Carrier Air Wing 5 departs the USS Kitty Hawk. Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 got underway Oct. 1, 2001, after an accelerated sea trials and carrier qualification period following the Sept. 11 attacks. Airwing aviators flew 100 combat missions over Afghanistan during the deployment. Visit the Stars and Stripes store to order a copy of Stars and Stripes’ photo book “15 years in Afghanistan,” covering the years 2001 - 2016.

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