NORFOLK, Va. - The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima is back in Norfolk after being stationed in Mayport, Florida, the past seven years.
The Iwo Jima arrived Monday, December 13. The ship’s arrival is part of a series of planned homeport shifts set to occur over the next few years.
"It's great to be back in Hampton Roads again," Captain Judd Krier said.
The plan will increase the number of guided-missile destroyers in the Mayport area and consolidate amphibious ships in the Norfolk area.
The Iwo Jima was stationed in Norfolk from 2001-2014, with notable missions including Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom and providing disaster relief during Hurricane Katrina.
Included in the move were more than 1,100 personnel, who will now call Virginia home. During the ship's arrival, families were seen waiting for their loved ones to get off the ship.
Devon Viola was waiting with her 2- and 4-year-old sons for her husband, Shelton. She said her boys are excited for their dad to be home for the holidays.
"We’ve had a Christmas countdown and a 'Daddy’s coming home' countdown. It was zero today - they were like, 'Let's go,'" Viola said.
The Iwo Jima is one of three types of amphibious assault ships in Norfolk. There’s a landing ship dock (LSD), a landing platform dock (LPD) and a landing helicopter dock (LHD). The Iwo Jima, a landing helicopter dock, will be undergoing maintenance in the coming months.