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Sailors briefly detained by Iran arrive in San Diego

Capt. Gary Leigh, center right, Coastal Riverine Group One commander, greets the 10 U.S. sailors assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron 3, upon their return to San Diego, Jan. 22, 2016. The sailors were briefly detained by Iran Jan. 12-13, 2016.

CHARLES WHITE/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By LAUREN KING | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: January 25, 2016

The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran earlier this month have returned to San Diego.

The sailors, listed in good health, will each complete the final phase of reintegration, according to a news release from the Navy. During this phase, the sailors will be able to reunite with their families, continue debriefings and receive any medical care and support as necessary. The process can last for several days.

According to the Navy, the sailors arrived in San Diego on Friday night.

Assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron 3, the San Diego-based sailors, were aboard small Riverine boats between Kuwait and Bahrain on a training mission when at least one of them had mechanical problems off Farsi Island. The U.S. lost contact on Jan. 12 and ships and aircraft attached to the Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman strike group began to search.

The Revolutionary Guard later released images of the sailors before their release, showing them sitting on the floor of a room. Pictures also showed what appeared to be their two boats. State TV later released more video and photos of the Americans apparently surrendering on their knees with their hands behind their heads.

"After determining that their entry into Iran's territorial waters was not intentional, and their apology, the detained American sailors were released in international waters," the Guard said.

The nine men and one woman were released the next day, with their boats.

The three-phased reintegration process began immediately following their release, according to the Navy news release. The first phase was to ensure health and safety. The second was to complete a medical exam and "critical decompression," which included mental and physical coping strategies that will enable them to return to duty.

No additional information about the incident was released. The Navy news release said a command investigation was ongoing.

©2016 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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