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Gulfport sailors among those returning from nine-month deployment

Sailors from Gulfport are among some 4,000 sailors and Marines serving in the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group who are beginning to return home from a nine-month deployment.

Some arrived at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Tuesday. Others return to Norfolk, Va., and Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday.

The deployment began Feb. 8 and included supporting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation and providing a forward naval presence in the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.

According to, the deployment was extended three weeks in the 5th Fleet after President Barack Obama ordered airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

BAT ARG is comprised of a multipurpose amphibious assault ship, USS Bataan (LHD 5), a transport dock ship, USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and an amphibious dock landing ship, USS Gunston Hall (LDS 44). Bataan and Mesa Verde are homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. The third ship is homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., is comprised of a ground combat element, aviation combat element, logistics combat element and its command element.

Click HERE to watch the homecoming live.