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Photo Information

A Marine with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, embraces his daughter and wife aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune N.C., during a welcome home ceremony March 25, 2011. The unit has returned after a seven-month deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Photo by U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Marines from 1/8 return home from Afghanistan

25 Mar 2011 | Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Marines and sailors with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, returned home after a seven-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, to a roaring applause from friends and family gathered aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 25, 2011.

Family members, friends and fellow service members rushed to the street holding banners, signs and cameras. They greeted the tired, but joyful Marines returning home.

“I can’t wait to see him, it feels like it’s been years,” said the mother of a Marine returning home from deployment. “I’m just so happy he’s home and safe.”

After the company arrived, family members ran into the open arms of their loved ones.

“It feels unbelievable to see my family right now,” said Lance Cpl. Stephen Murphy, a mortarman with 1/8, Weapons Company. “You think about them so much when you’re deployed, that when you finally see them, it’s overwhelming.”

For the past seven months the company has been deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, conducting combat operations and helping to restore the country for the Afghan people.

“While deployed, our company accomplished so much,” said 1st Lt. Adam Young, the executive officer for Weapons Company. “We pushed the Taliban back and definitely made a difference for the Afghan people. When we first arrived, we got in daily gunfights and when we left, we hadn’t taken enemy contact in weeks.”

Once all were reunited, the service members and their families slowly left the premises to spend some well-deserved time together.

“These Marines and sailors have worked so hard these past seven months,” said Young. “They have more than earned the right to spend time with their families.”

The rest of 1/8 is scheduled to return throughout the next few weeks.