NORFOLK, Va. — The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group (GHWBCSG) departed Norfolk Wednesday afternoon for its regularly scheduled deployment.
The flagship aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush and guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun will join guided-missile destroyers USS Delbert D. Black and USS Farragut, and the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf, which already departed their homeports earlier this month.
“We bring the full range of U.S. and allied maritime power in support of national security and defense objectives wherever we sail,” Rear Adm. Dennis Velez with the GHWBCSG said in a news release. “Throughout our deployment, we will continue to operate with and reassure our allies, maintain open sea lanes for trade and increased prosperity, and deter – or if necessary – destroy our adversaries.”
Families lined the gate and concrete barrier to wave goodbye, blow kisses and wipe away tears as their loved ones left on the U.S.S. George H. W. Bush
A mother waved goodbye to her husband on his first deployment as she held their four-month-old son in her arms.
It's a scene Nellie Carbaugh has seen for years at Naval Station Norfolk. Carbaugh's husband, Lewis, served in the Navy for years.
"The Navy brought us down here in 1972," said Carbaugh. "He retired in '79 as a lieutenant and I'm very proud of him. I lost him to cancer 14 years ago."
Now, her 28-year-old grandson is following in his footsteps on USS George H-W Bush for the next several months.
"This is his first deployment. He's excited and a little nervous...leaving family behind," said Carbaugh. "It used to be snail mail. Now, they do have Facetime sometimes in port and we do get to talk to them. We'll be talking to him and sending him packages and showing him family support."
Cara and Rob Riccio said this is their 20-year-old son's first deployment.
"Couldn't be more proud, but I am going to miss him," said Cara Riccio.
Her husband says this is a new experience, saying, "This is our first deployment as well as parents and we've never been in the military. It's a lot of emotions, happy, sad, afraid.."
The Navy didn't say where the Bush carrier strike group is heading. Rear Adm. Dennis Velez says the deployment is expected to last approximately seven months.
The Navy said the carrier strike group is made up of more than 6,000 sailors capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe.