NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — About 7,000 sailors with the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group left Naval Station Norfolk today on a regularly scheduled deployment.
The strike group consists of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 3, Destroyer Squadron 26 staff, the guided missile cruisers USS San Jacinto and USS Monterey and the guided-missile destroyers USS Stout, USS Roosevelt, USS Mason and USS Nitze.
The Eisenhower — along with the USS San Jacinto, USS Monterey, USS Mason, and USS Nitze — departed from Hampton Roads Wednesday.
In March, eight sailors aboard the Eisenhower were injured in a flight deck mishap. The incident happened shortly before the aircraft carrier left for a month-long training ahead of today’s deployment.
The five Norfolk-based ships, along with two from Mayport, Florida, will be replacing the USS Harry S. Truman — which has been conducting operations in the Middle East.
10 On Your Side spoke with families who say the deployment is not easy on them. Peggy Brackett’s son Mark deployed on the Eisenhower.
“I’m proud, I’m very proud of him,” said Brackett. “This is what he wants to do and I will miss him but I’m proud. I will be praying and I know that all of them is praying just as much as we are for each one of those sailors come home safe.”
Brittany Dodson waited on the port for hours until her husband left on the ship.
“It’s hard and I am going to miss him. He knows certain ways to get [my daughter] to laugh and stuff like that she won’t react to me with …so stuff like that is going to get hard,” said Dodson.
The USS Stout departed from Naval Station Norfolk for the Middle East on May 14. The USS Roosevelt will be departing Naval Station Mayport.
The deployment is part of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet initiative — where energy-efficient systems and alternative energy are used in year-long operational settings.
While deployed, the strike group will serve in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. They will conduct maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.