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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE — The USS Kitty Hawk returned to port Friday after an almost five-week cruise.

The carrier, which left Yokosuka on Nov. 6, had been performing routine operations in the Pacific, according to Lt. Commander Marc Boyd, a 7th Fleet spokesman. Among its activities was an exercise with Japan Self-Defense Forces, and a variety of other training. It also had a port visit in Guam over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The carrier, the fleet’s oldest and the only one permanently deployed outside the United States, has had a busy and at times harrowing year.

In February, it deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of the Iraq war. One of its pilots, Lt. Nathan White, was killed in action. The ship also served as the site for the at-sea memorial for the Lt. Thomas Mullen Adams, the first U.S. Navy officer killed in the war after a British Royal Navy helicopter he was in collided with another.

After its return from the Gulf, the Kitty Hawk underwent a long period of maintenance, followed by sea trials and operations.

Kitty Hawk sailors likely will have Christmas and Hannukah in port. When they might next be at sea is unknown.

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