NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — About 4,000 sailors and Marines deployed Wednesday from Norfolk aboard the USS Arlington amphibious dock ship and the USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship.

Both ships departed from Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday afternoon. The USS Gunston Hall dock landing ship is scheduled to leave later this month, the U.S. Navy said,

The Navy won’t say where the group is heading, but this is a regularly scheduled deployment. Many American forces have however been sent to Europe to support NATO during the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group Commander Capt. David Guluzian says the crisis in Ukraine isn’t at the forefront of their minds, but they’re prepared to respond to any crisis.

“We’re trained to respond globally to any number of situations,” he said. “And while we are heading over in that direction, we are ready to respond to any task that’s given to us and any mission that’s provided.”

10 On Your Side spoke to a family who came out from Texas to say farewell to their sailor on board the USS Kearsarge.

His grandmother, Lorrie Lyons, got choked up talking about how proud of her she was and how much she loves him.

“So excited, nervous, anxious, scared. Just proud of him. Very proud of him,” she said.

Capt. Tom Foster, the commanding officer of the USS Kearsarge, praised the work ethic of his crew in the months leading up to their deployment.

“The crew is just unstoppable. They’re amazing. They make my eyes water every day. A challenge gets thrown at us and they stay on it until the gear is fixed, or we are mission ready,” he said.

AS2 (AW/SW) Jessyca Bellinger is part of the crew for this deployment, but it will be her second deployment during her six-year career with the Navy.

She says she learned a lot about herself and what she’s capable of during her first deployment and looks forward to doing the same this time around.

“You’re exposed to, you know, all different types of people, situations, and, you always end up coming out as a better version of yourself,” she said. “So, for sure during that first deployment, I was stretched.”

While onboard, she works as an aviation support equipment tech and looks forward to better developing more disciplined personal and professional pursuits while at sea.

“I just want to know that I’m capable of anything, really, ’cause these deployments, they can take a toll on a person,” she said.

As she watched the ship head out into the Chesapeake Bay, Lyons had a special message for those at home as she awaits the return of her first-born grandson.

“Don’t take our freedom for granted. We may be going into this fight with Russia [so] say thanks to the military. They give their lives every day for our freedom and just be proud and say thank you,” she said.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin just spoke to the crew of the Arlington last week.

The Kearsarge, the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group’s flagship, will feature the Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6, 22ndMarine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Fleet Surgical Team 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4, Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2 and Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2.

The deployment includes Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.