Photo Gallery: A Heroes Welcome as USS Carl Vinson Returns to San Diego

Onlookers applaud as they watch a couple's loving embrace after a long absence.

The USS Carl Vinson pulled into San Diego Bay Wednesday morning to the cheers of hundreds of family members and friends.

The Coronado-based aircraft carrier and its nearly 6,000 sailors have been on deployment in the U.S. Seventh Fleet area of responsibility in Asia and the Fifth Fleet area in the Persian Gulf, where they executed numerous missions, including the burial of Osama bin Laden’s body at sea.    

The carrier’s air wing spent 87 days and executed 1,515 sorties in direct support of coalition forces for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

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USS Carl Vinson to Return Home After Historic Deployment, Burying bin Laden’s Body