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This Is What It Looks Like When Your Loved Ones Return After Nine Months Of Deployment

Thousands of service members returned to the Norfolk Naval Station after an extended mission in the Middle East.

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1. On Oct. 31, more than 4,000 Navy sailors and Marines returned home to their families following nine months of deployment.

MC1(AW/SW) RJ Stratchko / Via Facebook: USSBataan

The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group — which consists of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall, and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit — deployed on Feb. 8 for what was supposed to be an eight-month cruise.

But the escalating threat of ISIS led Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to extend the Bataan group's deployment in September. Aircraft assigned to the Bataan ARG conducted strikes in Syria and Iraq before returning to Norfolk, Virginia.

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Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 6055 A264 DADD AADC 347E 5986 547C C11C DD7D 176A.

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