Petty Officer First Class William Maupin has been here before, saying goodbye to his wife as he set off for deployment aboard USS Sterett on Friday.
But two new, adorable factors are making it harder to leave.
“It’s my first deployment leaving kids behind, so that’s a new experience,” said Maupin.
His two young daughters clung tightly to their dad as he prepared to take his place on the ship. He said his biggest concern is missing major events in his family.
His wife Allyssa told NBC 7 she is more nervous for the girls than herself, but “he’s doing what he loves to do and I support that,” she said.
Maupin is one of about 6,200 sailors aboard five ships setting off for a ten month deployment with the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group.
As crews climbed into their stations at Naval Air Station North Island, family and friends looked on from a distance, hoping to get one final glimpse of their sailor.
“We knew it’s been coming for a while, but it just, it came so fast,” said Ashley Verral, who is being separated from her husband for the first time.
Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is headed to the western Pacific with guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley, USS Sterett and USS Dewey. They’re joined by aviation squadrons from Carrier Air Wing 17 and Destroyer Squadron 1.
The team of ships will focus on security in the region, but NBC 7 asked Adm. Chris Grady, commander of the Carl Vinson, if his crews will be called to support American operations in Iraq.
“Should we be asked by regional to support our allies and partners in that area, we will be prepared for that,” said Grady.