NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The USNS Spearhead (T-EPF-1) has begun a four-month humanitarian assistance mission in support of the "2017 Continuing Promise Mission" in Central and South America.

The Spearhead and its crew of nearly 70 sailors and civil service mariners departed from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on Tuesday morning. Also on board the ship are six members of the US Navy's Fleet Forces Band, who will perform for the people they visit during their humanitarian trip.

The Navy says Continuing Promise is one of U.S. Southern Command’s premier efforts to bring quality health care, humanitarian assistance, and civic support to communities in Central and South America.

While deployed, the Spearhead will be under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet and the tactical control of Commander, Destroyer Squadron 40.