NORFOLK Military families have something special to celebrate this Independence Day since the Navy announced over 5,000 sailors are coming home July 3.

The sailors returning home are serving in the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. They are scheduled to arrive at their homeports in Norfolk and Mayport, Fla. July 3, just in time for Independence Day celebrations.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, suadrons of Carrier Air Wing 7, and the guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City are returning following five months of operations.

Other ships in the group, including USS Jason Dunham, USS Farragut, and USS Winston S. Churchill, returned in March after completing operations in the Middle East.

Aircraft squadrons of the air wing include strike fighter squadrons VFA-143 'Pukin Dogs,' VFA-131 'Wildcats,' VFA-83 'Rampagers' and VFA-103 'Jolly Rogers,' tactical electronics warfare squadron VAQ-140 'Patriots,' carrier airborne early warning squadron VAW-121 'Bluetails,' Fleet Logistics Support Squadron VRC-40 'Rawhides' and helicopter anti-submarine squadron HS-5 'Nightdippers.'

While deployed in the Middle East and Europe, the carrier strike group conducted maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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