The Bremerton-based aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. John C. Stennis, will deploy four months early to the Persian Gulf.
To thank sailors for their service, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will visit U.S. Naval Base Kitsap at Bremerton Wednesday.
Panetta will be speaking and spending time with the more than 2,000 sailors and their families on deck of the Stennis after 10:30 a.m.
The deployment comes as tensions rise between Iran and Israel. Many consider it a strategic move to position the Stennis strike group in the Middle East to deter Israel from striking a nuclear-capable Iran.
According to retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, its a way of telling the Israelis there is no need to attack.
The Stennis will be deployed for eight months, twice as long as originally planned.
The Stennis strike group returned to Bremerton in March after a seven-month deployment to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.