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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan – After nearly eight months in the Persian Gulf and assisting with humanitarian efforts in Indonesia in the aftermath of the Dec. 26 tsunami, the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) was scheduled to arrive here the week of April 11. Navy Federal Credit Union, along with a host of others, will welcome the sailors home. The $22 billion CU will show free movies at the Showboat Theater here on the main base April 9. Other activities will include a block party, concert, ice cream social, basketball, flag football and soccer games, a home-cooked potluck dinner and United Service Organizations activities, to name a few. The USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and USS Juneau served seven months with other coalition forces as part of Task Force 50 to support ongoing operations in Iraq. The Essex then assisted with humanitarian efforts in Indonesia following the tsunami. About 2,000 Okinawa-based service members of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed with the ARG were to return Saturday to White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa.

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