The USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea on Dec. 10, 2010 (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Mickler)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — More than nine months after embarking on what was supposed to be a seven-month round-the-world deployment, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln is finally on course for its new home port of San Diego.

The ship, which has been operating in and around the Middle East since May, left the region in mid-December and is bound for home.

When the carrier left Norfolk, Va., on April 1, its crew knew it was in for a deployment that was outside the norm. Not only was it deploying to the Middle East, but it also was switching home ports from the East Coast to the West, originally due in San Diego around Halloween. Many Lincoln family members moved across the country over the summer — without the help of their sailors — in order for children to start school in time for the new school year.

World events — and maintenance issues on another carrier — led to the ship's mission being extended well beyond its original return date.

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The U.S. Navy carrier strike group and U.S. Air Force bombers deployed to the Middle East to counter Iran conducted simulated strike drills near Iran this weekend as tensions between Washington and Tehran remain high.

The U.S. began deploying numerous troops and military assets to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility last month in response to intelligence indicating that Iran was plotting attacks on U.S. interests in the region.

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