MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Anticipation was high amongst family members and friends of Marines and sailors with 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, here March 6, as they waited for their loved ones’ return from a seven-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Flags and banners displaying messages to the returning troops covered the nearby barracks, and people clutched homemade signs while waiting for the buses to pull up.
“It has been too long,” said the mother of Lance Cpl. Antares Selix, a linguist with the battalion. “I have spent months on the unit’s website practically stalking them and waiting for them to return.”
The crowd remained calm while waiting, but they were vocal about their level of pride in the Marines and sailors serving with the battalion.
“These deployments only show the dedication they have for their country,” said the father of a returning Marine. “We are behind them all the way.”
Many parents reflected on the memories over the past seven months.
“No one wants their son or daughter to leave, but you have to be optimistic,” one mother said. “The scariest time for me was when my son was on his way home. I was worried about something happening to him.”
The buses pulled up and the air was filled with homemade signs, waving hands and loud cheers.
“It feels great to be home finally,” said 1st Lt. Thomas Waldron, assistant officer-in-charge of the operational control element for Regimental Combat Team 5. “I plan to relax and spend time, a lot of time, with the family.”
Other Marines had made bigger plans to enjoy their time back home.
“It feels great to be home,” Selix said. “I know what I am going to do now that I am back. Disneyland, here I come.”