NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44) deployed Monday morning to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to execute Southern Seas 2018.
A crew of around 500 were on board as the Whidbey Island class ship makes its way south.
Commander Fiona Halbritter, the Hall’s commanding officer, says this deployment will be the first for many on board.
“They’re a little nervous. They’ve all heard all the stories. I know I’ve talked up my first deployment stories,” Halbritter said.
The crew has trained for a year to prepare for the trip where they’ll engage in theater and maritime security as well as crisis response, according to Halbritter.
She says the trip will strengthen their partnerships with countries in the area because they will be training and working alongside them.
Some of those countries include Peru and Colombia.
“Not only do we get to practice what we’ve done, but we also learn from them, teach with them, exchange with them the best practices and see what can be done better,” she said.
Components of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will embark off the coast of North Carolina.
Gunston Hall will also embark Commander, Destroyer Squadron 40 from Mayport, Florida.