NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – More than 1,000 Sailors and Marines left Hampton Roads for the next eight months or so as the U.S.S Bataan got underway Saturday morning.
Among them is Gunnery Sergeant Samuel Burgos, on his seventh deployment with the Marines.
“You can’t expect anything, you just have to face it one day at a time,” said his girlfriend, Alyssa Curiel, a former Navy E3 who did two deployments. “You’re by yourself, you’re missing your significant other.”
Curiel was in the crowd that gathered to wave the Bataan off. She met Susan and Keith Tucker, who drove from Tennessee to see the ship leave with their son on it.
“Their son is in good hands,” Curiel said. “He [Burgos] told me the reason he is going is that he needs to take care of his Marines.”
That’s a comfort to the Tuckers, who didn’t get to see their son before he left for his first deployment.
“It’s hard, no doubt. He’s taking my heart and tons of prayers with him,” Susan Tucker said. “I’m super proud as well. He’s stoked, he’s super excited, so it makes it easier, as a mom.”
Neither Curiel nor Tucker know exactly where the Bataan will go, or what their Marines will do.
“We’re here to support the Marines in whatever they need, whether it be a combat mission or humanitarian assistance,” said Commanding Officer George Vassilakis.
Curiel knows that kind of uncertainty isn’t easy, but she’s proud of her deployments, and her boyfriend’s.
“It’s a privilege to be the one that gets chosen to go,” she said. “Because someone has to take care of the Marines, and someone has to take care of us here, left behind.”
The Bataan heads first for Camp LeJeune in North Carolina to pick up more Marines. A total of 2,800 Sailors and Marines will deploy for the next eight months.