Hundreds of family members said goodbye to their loved ones Wednesday morning as USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group departed San Diego for the Western Pacific.
David Haas, the Commanding Officer of USS Thach, said they're headed to the northern Persian Gulf to protect two oil platforms off the coast of Iraq.
"It's a very challenging mission the temperatures are going to be in the 120's with humidity," Haas said.
Loved ones said goodbye with hugs, kisses and tears. Servicemembers with the strike group are expected to be deployed at least four months and possibly longer.
The strike group left on time Wednesday but a technical problem delayed the deployment of the aircraft carrier. A problem with a voltage regulator for one of the ship's electrical generators could take several hours or several days to fix.
This is the fourth deployment for the San Diego based strike group.
It recently received its second Battle "E" award for being the most combat-efficient carrier in the Pacific Fleet.
During its last deployment, the Reagan Strike Group supported the Philippines armed forces-- delivering water, rice and medical supplies to people affected by a typhoon.