–- The amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed Naval Base San Diego Nov. 14, on a regularly scheduled deployment as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) in support of the Navy's Maritime Strategy.
With Battle Ensigns flying, Sailors and Marines in dress uniforms manning the rails, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” blaring over the ship’s loudspeakers, New Orleans’ deployment began.
In preparation for deployment, New Orleans, alongside amphibious dock-landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) completed three pre-deployment exercises designed to test the Navy and Marine Corps' maritime and sea-to-shore capabilities.
Carrying more than 700 Marines, air cushion landing craft, the Maritime Raid Force, and a mix of helicopters, New Orleans is a key component of the Makin Island ARG, packing a balanced mixed of combat power.
New Orleans hosted a large number of family and friends on board prior to her departure that saw many long farewells, with proud wives, husbands, and children seeing off their service members.
Lingering until the last possible moments, a steady stream of families departed the ship to line the pier as New Orleans got underway to lead the other two ships of the ARG out of the harbor.
“After almost 17 years in the Navy, leaving home never gets easier,” said Cmdr. Dennis Jacko, commanding officer of New Orleans. “Our Sailors have made extraordinary efforts to ensure the ship was ready to deploy on time, working on some last minute troubleshooting right up to the day of deployment. I think the families saw all that hard work come to fruition as we proudly left the pier under full power and on time.”
During deployment New Orleans will be expected to accomplish a variety of missions supporting the Navy's maritime strategy including combat missions, humanitarian assistance, counter-piracy and promoting peace and stability in the regions it enters.
New Orleans is assigned to Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5, with USS Makin Island serving as the flagship.
Commissioned in 2007, New Orleans is the second of the San Antonio-class transport dock ships. Its warfighting capabilities include a state-of-the-art command and control suite, substantially increased vehicle lift capacity, a large flight deck, and advanced ship survivability features that enhance its ability to operate in the littoral environment.