MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines with several military transition teams received a warm welcome here Dec. 3 after a 12 month deployment to Iraq.
Posters were held high and screams were heard all around as buses made their way into the small parking lot surrounded by friends and family. With the Marines’ first steps off the bus, they were rushed by waves of hugs and kisses from their awaiting loved ones.
“It has been a really long time coming,” wife of Gunnery Sgt. Richard R. Hohn said. “He will be coming home to a new house he hasn’t even seen yet.”
The Marines came home to family and friends, and for some, to new additions to their family. Cpl. Efren Rodriguez, a communication technician with one of the teams, met his newborn son for the first time.
“I want nothing more than to spend time with my family,” Rodriguez said. “Now that my son is born, I am so excited to be able to raise him.”
Many Marines just looked forward to getting home to their favorite chair and relaxing.
“I already know what I am doing when I get home,” Staff Sgt. Ertin Iriarte, force protection and fires staff noncommissioned officer, said. “I am going home, taking a shower, sitting down with my kids, and ordering take out.”
While most Marines might be tired of seeing sand all around, some had plans to visit the ocean.
“We are going to the beach,” Capt. James Kay, vehicle maneuver officer, said. “I want to spend some alone time with my wife.”
His wife agreed.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “I have been waiting for this moment for 16 months now. I am just so excited that he is home.”
The Marines’ families are not the only ones proud of their hard work.
“The military transition teams are focused on training and preparing members of the Iraqi Army,” Lt. Col. David Barnes, transition team cell officer in charge, said. “These Marines have done a wonderful job doing just that.”