USS Lake Erie. Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul D. Honnick/U.S. Navy

The cruiser USS Lake Erie and destroyer USS Pinckney are scheduled to return to San Diego from deployment on Sunday, the Navy announced Thursday.

The Lake Erie left San Diego in May on an independent deployment and sailed more than 40,000 miles in the western Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.

Navy officials said Lake Erie sailors provided humanitarian assistance in Colombo, Sri Lanka, after severe flooding and landslides devastated many regions of the country and left nearly 10,000 homeless. They also trained with allied navies.

The Pinckney was part of a strike group led by the Washington state- based aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. The force also included the San Diego-based cruiser USS Princeton, which arrived home Wednesday, and destroyer USS Howard, which returned Tuesday.

“I am very proud of the entire strike group and all that our sailors and Marines accomplished during this deployment,” said Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group. “The team demonstrated the professionalism, strength and resolve of the U.S. Navy around the world.”

He said the crews battled through intense heat in the Persian Gulf to conduct operations against Islamic State targets.

—City News Service

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