CORONADO, Ca (NNS) - Sailors on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) said goodbye to family and friends Nov. 30 as the ship departed Naval Air Station North Island for a three-week composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) and Western Pacific deployment.

COMPTUEX is an assessment of Carrier Strike Group 1's pre-planned responses to tactical scenarios and knowledge of operations critical to ships' survival at sea.

Vinson will play a key role in supporting the nation's maritime strategy to assure our allies of continued commitment to regional security and to deter and dissuade potential conflicts. This is the first Western Pacific deployment for Vinson in more than five years, since the ship entered Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) in the fall of 2005.

"Getting ready for this deployment was a little different since the ship has been in the shipyards for so long," said Chief Operation's Specialist (SW/AW) Tijuanna Schumpert, Leading Chief Petty Officer of Operations Department OI Division. "There was a lot of work to do to get the ship ready. Now it's time to focus on the mission at hand."

Although this will be the first full-length deployment for many Sailors on board, Carl Vinson's extensive training and enthusiasm enable the crew to support the ship's overall mission.

"This is my first Western Pacific deployment. It is a bit overwhelming but my family understands I am doing my duty," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Liberty Raposas from Medical Department. "I know I have to go, so I am ready to go. I know what is expected of me and I am ready to do my job."

Several family members and friends bid farewell to Carl Vinson Sailors as the ship pulled away from the pier.

"We will do our best to be as supportive as we possibly can," said Michelle and Mike Smith, parents of Airman Robert Kronebusch. "We drove down to see him off today and we will be here when he gets back. This (deployment) will be a life-changing experience and an opportunity to be a part of something exciting."

Bob and Mary Ilosvay, parents of Aviation Traffic Controller 3rd Class Michael Nawrocki, said it's hard to watch their son leave but they admire his courage and respect his decision to serve his country.

For Chief Boatswain's Mate (Ret.) Isaac Doyle Jr., father of Boatswain's Mate Seaman Isaac Doyle III, his son's departure was bittersweet.

"This is history repeating itself, only the roles are reversed," said Doyle. "I remember when I was the one leaving my family behind. I couldn't be any more proud of him."

Although the ship has not been underway for longer than three months since 2005, Carl Vinson Sailors are eager to complete the mission and concentrate on training to be ready for anything deployment might bring.

"Each ship and each deployment is different" said Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate (AW/SW) Anderson Wharton. "The experience will be different for each person as well. This is an opportunity for Vinson Sailors to learn their rating and be better Sailors."

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