MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- As the sun set on Camp Lejeune, families and friends of approximately 120 Marines with Battery A, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, waited in anticipation of their loved ones’ return from a seven-month deployment to Iraq.
Even the shadows of the approaching night couldn’t darken the mood of the crowd as they cheered and applauded their returning heroes pulling into the parking lot on charter buses.
Battery A’s mission was convoy security and to augment, or reinforce, the military police mission in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
Lt. Col. Pete Keating, the battalion commanding officer, explained how it feels to have his Marines return safe and in good spirits.
“Getting Alpha Battery back is wonderful,” Keating said. “We are happy that they’re back safe and sound. They did an outstanding job, it was a very demanding mission, and it’s great to see them reunited with their spouses and families.”
The wife of Cpl. Eric Alt, a vehicle commander with 3rd Platoon and a Syracuse, N.Y., native, said it’s amazing to have her husband back home.
“This is honestly the best day of my life,” explained Alt, who returned from his second deployment to Iraq. “The hardest part about being gone was not knowing what was going to happen the next day, if I’d still be alive or not. Being back home feels great.”
After gathering up their gear and having a quick accountability formation, the Marines headed off with their proud loved ones to catch up on lost time.
“We are just so proud and relieved to have him home,” explained the parents of Cpl. Ryan Brinkmeier, from Berryville, Va. “It was good for us to see our son had grown up and know that he’s done something he’s proud of.”
For these Marines with Battery A, who served fearlessly and honorably for their country, the long road and difficult and dangerous mission is something they all can be proud of accomplishing.
Over the echo of voices in that crowded parking lot, people could hear one common phrase, “It’s good to have you home.”
Keating summed up the mood of the night.
“It’s definitely a happier day than it was when they left in August,” he said. “They trained hard and trained well, we’re glad they came back safe. Today’s a great day.”