Two Navy carriers to return to home ports

Two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and the ships in their battle groups will leave the Persian Gulf this week and return to their home ports, a U.S. defense official said Monday.

The departure of the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS Constellation reflects a winding down of the air campaign, although the Pentagon is still sending more ground forces to Kuwait and Iraq, the Associated Press reported.

The Army's 1st Armored Division is moving its equipment to ports for shipment to the Gulf region, and its troops will follow by air in a couple of weeks, a division spokesman said Monday. The division is sending two armored brigades and one aviation brigade from bases in Germany, and one brigade is going from its base at Fort Riley, Kan., the spokesman added.

Also, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division, recently arrived in Kuwait from Fort Hood, Texas, crossed the border into Iraq Monday. First to go were two convoys of about 500 tanks and other vehicles. It was not clear whether their destination was Baghdad or northern Iraq.