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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (September 16, 2005)- Following seven months of sustained combat operations in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, Lance Cpl. Kyle Mergner, along with Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, returned to Camp Lejeune Sept. 16. He was greeted by a hug from his girlfriend, Kristin Ceppaluni, the cheers of his family and the sight of flags and signs waving in the air.

Photo by Pfc. Terrell A. Turner

3/2 returns after sustained combat in Iraq

16 Sep 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Following seven months of sustained combat operations in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, Marines with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment returned to Camp Lejeune, greeted by the cheers of friends and families and the sight of flags and signs waving in the air.The Marines were deployed in February to the lawless area of Al Qa’im, about 20 miles from the Iraqi-Syrian boarder, where they took part in three successful major offensive combat operations.Operations Matador, Spear and Quick Strike were operations to clear areas and cities of a heavy insurgent threat.Throughout their deployment the Marines conducted various operations in cities such as Karabilah, Sadah, Ubaydi, Haditha, Haqlayniah, Qa’im, Kubaysah and Husaybah, Iraq.“I enjoyed this deployment because it was a very physical environment out there. We conducted a lot of missions, cleared a lot of cities, got rid of a lot of insurgents and accomplished a lot. I feel like I’ve grown as a person and I believe what we were doing out there was good for the citizens of Iraq,” explained Lance Cpl. Mark Thiry, 22, a Marine with Weapons Platoon, Company K from Chattanooga, Tenn.The battalion’s mission in Iraq was clear-cut and their operations were in direct support.“Our mission was to disrupt and interdict insurgent activity out here in the west. We disrupted their operations so they couldn’t push further east into Ramadi and other capital cities of Iraq,” explained Lt. Col. Tim Mundy, the battalion’s commanding officer.As the Marines returned to the base they were thrilled to be reunited with their families, many of whom were carrying signs, flags and a few had donned Task Force 3/2 t-shirts.One Marine in particular, explained his excitement to be back home in the United States with his friends and family.“It feels great to be back. I can’t wait to relax and have a good time after this long deployment,” said Cpl. Emmett P. Shannon, 21, from Chieo, Calif., and a 2002 graduate of Paradise High School.After the Marines of the battalion returned to Camp Lejeune, Mundy explained how he wants people to look back on his battalion’s deployment and he credited their successes to the Marines of the battalion.“With the success of all our operations and day to day tasks out there I can never say enough about how great our young Marines and small unit leaders are when put to the test,” Mundy continued. “They stepped up and really surpassed my expectations. So I hope people look at our success out there and realize that it was done on the backs of those Marines.”