NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin toured the USS Arlington and spoke with the crew on Thursday ahead of their deployment later this month.

WAVY’s Kara Dixon was there as Youngkin stepped aboard at Naval Station Norfolk.

Youngkin was joined by his wife, Suzanne, and Virginias Secretary of Veterans Affairs Craig Crenshaw. He told the crew he was simply there to thank them for their service.

“What a heartwarming moment and inspiring moment to see the men and women on the USS Arlington preparing to deploy,” he told reporters. “I hope all of you feel the same way I do. I’m incredibly proud. I’m incredibly honored. It’s just a remarkable capability,”

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, part of the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, went to Haiti last summer to help with earthquake relief efforts.

The crew is made up of 600 marines and 400 sailors who will ship out for a regularly scheduled deployment.

But, the Arlington will be headed out amongst a tense time globally due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We find ourselves at an unprecedented moment in recent history, where for the first time in many people’s lives we have a dictator who has invaded a sovereign nation and all of a sudden has cast a big shadow over the entire globe,” Youngkin said. “On top of that, this is Virginia. I am so proud of our military. When we have the USS Arlington named after one of our great cities that suffered in 9/11 deploying, I wanted to wish them well, pray for them, and let them know how much we care about them.”

Youngkin also says he hopes that when service members return from deployment and eventually retire, they chose Virginia as their home. That’s why he’s working to make it more attractive.

According to Youngkin, Virginia is one of a handful of states that fully taxes retirement benefits for veterans and the legislature is currently working to exclude taxing up to $40,000 in a new tax plan.

“I want them to stay here. We want to go to work to make it easier for their spouses to get jobs, we want to make it to stay here and start companies. We’re working to waive fees and charges to start businesses in Virginia. We are working to double the efforts provide veteran support services. I want our veterans to stay here and this is a big part of Virginia’s future,” he said.

Youngkin’s visit comes the same day Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro visits the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) in support of Women’s History Month and to commemorate 100 years of Navy aircraft carriers.