SAN DIEGO -- Three US Navy ships were deploying from Naval Base San Diego late Wednesday morning.
The ships, USS Boxer, USS John P. Murtha and USS Harpers Ferry, are carrying about 4,500 sailors and Marines. They are part of the Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group 3.
Hundreds of family members lined the dock and waved goodbye as the ships pulled away.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” said an emotional Nicolette Dech. Her husband, Marine Cpl. Shawn Tyler Dech, is on board the USS Boxer.
Dech held a bright pink sign hoping to catch the eye of her husband as he went by. “I used this same sign last time,” she said. “He told me he saw it and everyone asked if he was Dech. So, they can definitely see it as they go by."
Navy officials invited FOX 5 to cover the deployment but shared limited details about the expedition for security reasons.
“It’s a culmination of seven months of long training,” said Capt. Brad Arthur, Commodore of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. The ships are capable of major combat operations and ready for crisis response, he said. They have the ability to launch aircraft like helicopters and Harrier jets vertically.