RINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines and sailors with Regimental Combat Team 6 returned home after a 13-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to roaring applause from friends and family here Feb. 1.
Family members, friends and fellow service members rushed to the buses holding banners, balloons and cameras greeting the tired, but extremely happy, Marines and sailors.
“This deployment was a great success,” said 1st Lt. Michael Trent, the assistant intelligence officer with Headquarters Company, RCT-6, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
Trent added there had been a dramatic decrease in attacks by the end of their year-long deployment, and the Iraqi military and police, in RCT-6’s area of operation, are now in control of the cities in Al Anbar Province, such as Fallujah.
The Marines stepped off the buses with heads held high, confident they had successfully aided in the transition to provincial Iraqi control.
“I’m here to see my boys come back,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Malorni, a mortar man wounded during an improvised explosive device attack in Fallujah, while working with the Regimental Explosive Ordnance Disposal Security Team.
Tension broke once the patient family members were able to wrap their arms around their sons, husbands, friends and fellow Marines and sailors for photos, hugs and kisses on the cheek.
“It was a long trip but now I’m home,” said Sgt. Neil Sevelius, a combat videographer with RCT-6. “There are faces here I’ve never seen smile until now.”
Marines laughed and joked stepping away from their normal tough demeanor, while family and friends cried tears of happiness. Once all were reunited with one another they left for a hard-earned weekend of celebration.
“I can’t believe he’s home,” said Sevelius’ wife. “I’m overwhelmed and shaking.”