NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- After a long period of testing and evaluation, the Navy's first Expeditionary Sea Base is on its way to the Persian Gulf.

The crew of the USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB- 3) deployed from Naval Station Norfolk on Monday. They will now join the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf.

The ship's missions include counter-piracy operations and disaster relief. Two more ships similar to the Puller are being built.

Thirty-four merchant mariners crew the ship, and it can hold another 250 enlisted sailors.