NORFOLK, Va. - Over the weekend, two major Navy ships will begin their journey from Norfolk to their new homeport at Naval Station Mayport.
For the past eight months Mayport has been home to the USS New York. Action News was aboard the ship in December as it was home-ported in Jacksonville. It was known then that two more were coming and now that day is finally here.
The USS Iwo Jima and the USS Fort McHenry will join the New York this Sunday to permanently call Mayport home.
"The more manpower and personnel and ships we can home port in Mayport the better Mayport is and of course, the better Mayport is, the better Jacksonville will become," said City Council member-at-large John Crescimbeni.
Thousands of sailors will make the move, many with their families. Their relocation will bring not only more military expertise to Jacksonville but a much-needed boost for the local economy.
"It’s going to add a lot of a sailors to Mayport and of course they all need places to live and [will] shop in our stores," said Crescimbeni.
It doesn't end here. By 2016 the Navy will begin moving littoral combat ships to Mayport, further solidifying naval station's military significance.