Thousands of Marines, sailors return to San Diego after 7-month deployment

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — More than 5,000 military members returned to San Diego this weekend following a seven-month deployment around the world.

The U.S. Navy sailors and Marines make up the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, which deployed Nov. 10 following a pre-deployment sequester and back-to-back at-sea exercises in October.

“I’m going to hug him and remind him in 2014 I got the first hug,” said Izzy Gurrola.

The long-awaited return was extra special for the handful of families who were allowed to wait for their loved ones on the pier since COVID-19 restrictions still only allow for a certain number of people in the area.

Some of those lucky families held a new baby waiting to meet their news dads.

“The end goal was him coming home so that was something to look forward to; that’s basically what kept me going you know being a mom you don’t get breaks so you gotta push through no matter what,” said new mom Julia Post.

It’s safe to say these sailors and marines are overjoyed to be back in the arms of their loved ones once again.

“Oh it’s awesome this is the best part of deployment all of it is worth it; it’s the best part right here,” said Paul Gurrola.

The Makin Island ARG is made up of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island and amphibious transport dock ships USS San Diego and USS Somerset and led by Commander, Amphibious Squadron THREE.

USS Makin Island (LHD 8), USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25) will return to port at Naval Base San Diego following the offload and a contingent of 15th MEU personnel will remain aboard ARG shipping for the pier side arrival, a military spokesperson said.

They are returning to San Diego following a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. During the deployment, sailors and Marines supported Operation Octave Quartz in Somalia, Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsals in Kuwait and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Exercise Northern Edge 2021 in Alaska.

The ARG-MEU conducted more than 10,000 hours of flight operations, 6,800 launch and recoveries, and traveled more than 135,000 nautical miles of open ocean and restricted water transits.