A rainbow forms over the bow of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ignacio D. Perez

Three San Diego-based warships that accompanied the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on a seven-month deployment are scheduled to return home Thursday, the Navy announced Monday.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and destroyers USS Stockdale and USS William P. Lawrence left San Diego Jan. 20 and were part of what Navy brass called the “Great Green Fleet,” a nod to the “Great White Fleet” that showcased U.S. naval power in the early 20th century under President Theodore Roosevelt.

The vessels were powered by a fuel mix that included beef fat provided by farmers in the Midwest. The fat was purchased at a competitive price through a partnership between the Department of the Navy and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Mobile Bay is named for a Civil War naval battle. The Stockdale honors Vice Adm. James Stockdale, who won the Medal of Honor for leading prisoners of war during the Vietnam conflict. The William P. Lawrence is named for another vice admiral who was also a Vietnam POW, and later commander of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Helicopters that operated on the ships are scheduled make their homecoming Tuesday at Naval Air Station North Island.

The Stennis will make a brief stop at North Island Wednesday before returning to its home port of Bremerton, Washington.

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