MAYPORT, Fla. - When you sign up for work in the Navy, you expect long deployments, but it doesn't make being away from your family for such a long time any easier.
As 600 sailors at Naval Station Mayport embarked on yet another tour of duty Wednesday, a lot was going through their minds.
"The thoughts that are going through my mind are safety, missing my family, and pretty much just to go and come back safe and just get it over with," said Holly Lyons, E5 Second Class.
Getting it over with will take some time. The USS Farragut and USS Hue City will meet up with the rest of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and head to the Mediterranean.
"This deployment is a nine-month deployment with the strike group -- Strike Group Eight," said Commander Glen Quast, commanding officer of the USS Farragut. "We're going to be going out in both the fifth and sixth fleet areas of operations. This is the Mediterranean and the Gulf, and what we do and where we go will pretty much be dictated by world events.
While the sailors are working at sea, part of them will be thinking about their family at home, especially Trisha Carlos' husband. He'll miss the birth of their first child due in September.
"Yes, it's kind of hard because we thought he was going to be here and then they moved up the date, but going through this as a child, it wasn't a big deal, but now that I'm married to somebody in the Navy, its a huge deal, it's really hard," Carlos said.
Douglas Johannes is worried a bout the long deployment, too.
"Not so much for myself, because I've done many deployments," said Johannes, STCG chief on board the Hue City. "I just got back from a 15-and-a-half-month deployment in Afghanistan, and so, about six months ago. My bigger concern is about my daughter and her husband, who's doing his first deployment aboard the Farragut as I leave aboard the Hue City here in about an hour."
If you don't think this is a challenging assignment for these sailors and their families, just think about all the things that will happen between now and March, when these sailors will be home again.
The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group will focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
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