NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The first wave of USS George H.W. Bush sailors has returned home.
The Rawhides of VRC-40, based at Naval Station Norfolk's Chambers Field, flew in Thursday afternoon after seven months of being deployed as part of Carrier Strike Group 8, and the USS Bush Carrier Strike Group. Two C-2 Greyhound turboprop transport planes, carrying around 60 personnel came back.
The team's primary mission was to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
According to the Navy, while conducting flight operations in both the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf, the air wing performed a record number of accomplishments including 11,347 sorties, of which 1,924 were combat missions. 30,873 flight hours were logged with 12,603 of those in actual combat.
The Rawhides were the first, but are by no means the last heroes to return in the days ahead.
On Friday, Hawkeye and helicopter squadrons will return to Naval Station Norfolk, and Hornet and Super Hornet squadrons will come back to Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. The happy homecomings will conclude Monday when the aircraft carrier returns to Naval Station Norfolk.
When all is said and done, 7,000 sailors will have returned.