USS Carl Vinson Strike Group ships deployed from San Diego Thursday with a combined 7,500 service members on board all bound for the Western Pacific.
The sailors are part of a unique mission -- they will take part in an operational construct that hasn't been carried out by the U.S. Navy since World War II.
The USS Carl Vinson deployed at about 7 a.m. Thursday morning, headed to a mission working on a new construct called COM Third Fleet Forward. The U.S. Navy says USS Carl Vinson will remain under the U.S. Third Fleet command and control while deployed.
Loved ones gathered at Naval Air Station North Island Coronado to bid their farewell to 7,500 Marines and sailors -- always a poignant scene of emotion -- that marks a challenging day in the life of military families. For many families, it was their first experience of having a relative or spouse deploy.
The group of departed vessels included the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and embarked Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 1, deployed with Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), according to the U.S. Navy.
Some other vessels in the group were the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108). The Carrier Air Wing 2 and Destroyer Squadron 1 will focus on maritime security operations.
USS Wayne E. Meyer deployed from Naval Base San Diego at about 11 a.m. Thursday.
For the past six months, USS Carl Vinson Strike Group has been preparing for this mission in San Diego with rigorous training sessions.