MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Cpl. Charles W. Ehm, an analyst assigned to 2nd Intelligence Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, was happy to see his family and fiancé upon returning from deployment to Iraq. He also looked forward to enjoying the creature comforts usually taken for granted here.
“I can’t wait to lay down on an actual bed,” said Ehm, of Lincoln Park, N.J., who spent several months of his deployment sleeping on a collapsible cot. “I can settle for a cleaned floor.”
Ehm and more than 50 fellow Marines assigned to 2nd Intel Bn., arrived here, March 15, following a seven-month deployment to Iraq.
During the unit’s tour in Iraq, an enclave for terrorists in Iraq fell, and that nation’s first democratic elections in recent history were accomplished. Supporting combat operations there, the Marines from 2nd Intel were instrumental in providing their expertise for Operation Al Fahjr—the Battle for Fallujah last November, according to a senior member of the unit.
They accomplished their mission, by giving military intelligence support, planning and analysis to the commanders of the 1st Marine Division and I Marine Expeditionary Force during their rotation.
The Marines greeted their loved ones, with hugs, tears and smiles. The expressions from family and friends conveyed their joy in the reunion.
The unit may receive another mission overseas in the future, but for now, they are just happy to be home.
“It’s good being back, not having [to carry] my M-16, flack and Kevlar helmet,” said Ehm as he stood with family “Or not having to think about incoming rounds.”
This group of Marines is the first contingent from the military intelligence unit to arrive stateside. Nearly all personnel from the unit are expected to return by the beginning of April.