MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The bags were being loaded and the emotions ran high as the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment were getting ready to ride back into Iraq to continue the fight on the Global War on Terrorism as they left here March 6.
Many of the Marines in the battalion returned last year in August from a seven-month-long deployment in Fallujah and Karmah, Iraq. The experience and knowledge of what is taking place there is a part of many men’s preparation for what they’ll be getting back into.
“The short turn around for us has been a challenge to the families, but has kept our proficiency at a high level,” explained Capt. Mark Liston, Weapons Company Commander.
The Marines began gathering their things as they stood with their family members one last time before loading the buses and heading off to catch their flight. Although the Marines have not been home for very long, they know what their mission is, explained Liston.
The doors opened and the Marines climbed in as they waved one last time to their fellow Marines and family members there seeing them off for another successful tour in Iraq protecting the freedoms of the United States.
The first leg of the battalion made their way out of Camp Lejeune to meet the Marines they will replace. Their missions may have changed slightly from their previous deployment.
“The basics are what will keep us going over there,” Liston said. “That’s what composed most of our pre-deployment training.”
Liston and all the Marines are prepared to adapt what they have already learned about this enemy, and combine it with the other Marines knowledge of what is happening now to close with and destroy their enemy.
“The combination of our high proficiency and all the recent training has made us ready to accomplish the missions to which we will be tasked,” Liston explained. “The unit we are replacing has had much success and we will incorporate what they have done with our past success to overcome the enemy.”
As the night drew to a close, the families wiped away their tears as they watched their heroes depart for the next chapter in their lives. The streets were cleared and the Marines of the battalion had started their voyage to a far off land where they will fight not only for their families and friends, but also for those in Iraq.