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Tearful Goodbyes to Sailors at Pier 9

USS Bonhomme Richard departed for Japan Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It's a bittersweet Valentine's Day.

    Many sailors will say good bye to loved ones as they get ready to sail across the Pacific Ocean. They are embarking on a four-month deployment.

    "I said I'll see you later and just walked away," said a tearful Nelson Ciprian, family member of a deployed sailor.

    This was one of many tearful goodbyes Tuesday morning as families gathered outside Pier 8 at the naval base in San Diego.

    USS Bonhomme Richard left around 9 a.m. for Sasebo, Japan, where it will make a hull swap with USS Essex. A little over One thousand sailors and 800 marines are part of this deployment.

    The crew will bring USS Essex back to San Diego for much needed upgrades

    "We're sad to send the ship to Japan but we're going to bring Essex back," said Captain Chuck Litchfield. "So we're going to take one Cadillac over and bring another one back. So I think for San Diego it means the same thing. My entire crew lives here and we'll be coming home."

    Hull swaps, where one crew exchange ships with another, saves the Navy money.

    They say it's cheaper to keep families in one location as opposed to uprooting the family and moving them. USS Essex has been deployed to Japan for 10 years.

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