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Lance Cpl. Travis Thornhill, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, and Kissee Mills, Minn., native says goodbye to his family one last time during 3/4?s departure from the Combat Center Feb. 25. 3/4 will be deployed for seven months in western Al Anbar Province. The battalion has deployed to Iraq five times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson

”Darkside” deploys to western Al Anbar again

25 Feb 2008 | Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson

The Marines and sailors of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, departed the Combat Center Feb. 25 through 28, on a seven-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 3/4, also known as “Darkside,” for their call sign, has deployed to Iraq a record-setting five times, said Staff Sgt. Edward A. Little Jr., family readiness officer, 3/4, and a Tucson, Ariz., native.

 “I am really excited to get over there,” said Lance Cpl. Troy Arentz, rifleman, Kilo Company, 3/4 and a North Field, Minn., native. “This is my second deployment, so I am eager to see the changes from the end of the last deployment to this deployment.”

 Lance Cpl. Michael Ward, a squad automatic weapon gunner, Kilo Company, 3/4, is deploying for his first time. He said he is excited to witness the difference in cultures and experience Iraq first-hand.

 “It’s going to be a great experience,” said Ward, a Brooklyn Park, Minn., native. “As long as we all do our job so every Marine comes home with us.”

 Ward said he was looking forward to deploying ever since he started Mojave Viper, the month-long pre-deployment training evolution geared toward combat deployments.

 “Mojave Viper brought us together,” said Ward. “It taught us to be a team, so we can do our jobs without problems while deployed.”

 3/4 will be replacing 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, continuing their mission of maintaining security, training the Iraqi security forces, and helping their local leaders govern the country efficiently.

 “This may be the fifth time this battalion has deployed, but a lot of these Marines that have deployed before are facing something completely different,” said Capt. Chris McGuire, Kilo Company commander, 3/4.

 McGuire continued to say the environment in Iraq is a lot safer than their last deployment.

 A somber mood from family and friends mixed with excitement was felt as Marines and sailors from 3/4 said goodbye to their loved ones.

 “I am going to miss him so much,” said Pfc. Jennifer Vaughn of Headquarters Battalion and Cincinnati, Ohio, native. She is the wife to Lance Cpl. Eddy Ampie, a food service specialist for Headquarters and Services Company, 3/4. “I wish I could go with him, but I know he has to do this.”

 Ampie, a New York native, agreed with his wife, saying he was nervous, but the training he went through has made him ready to deploy.

 Lt. Col. William Visted, 3/4’s battalion commander, also expressed his excitement to deploy.

 “We are 100 percent ready to go,” said Visted, the Springfield, Va., native. “I am confident in my Marines.”

 Family members and friends waved goodbye to the Marines and sailors of 3/4 as they loaded on to the buses and began their journey to western Al Anbar Province. The Marines and sailors of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, departed the Combat Center Feb. 25 through 28, on a seven-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 3/4, also known as “Darkside,” for their call sign, has deployed to Iraq a record-setting five times, said Staff Sgt. Edward A. Little Jr., family readiness officer, 3/4, and a Tucson, Ariz., native.

 “I am really excited to get over there,” said Lance Cpl. Troy Arentz, rifleman, Kilo Company, 3/4 and a North Field, Minn., native. “This is my second deployment, so I am eager to see the changes from the end of the last deployment to this deployment.”

 Lance Cpl. Michael Ward, a squad automatic weapon gunner, Kilo Company, 3/4, is deploying for his first time. He said he is excited to witness the difference in cultures and experience Iraq first-hand.

 “It’s going to be a great experience,” said Ward, a Brooklyn Park, Minn., native. “As long as we all do our job so every Marine comes home with us.”

 Ward said he was looking forward to deploying ever since he started Mojave Viper, the month-long pre-deployment training evolution geared toward combat deployments.

 “Mojave Viper brought us together,” said Ward. “It taught us to be a team, so we can do our jobs without problems while deployed.”

 3/4 will be replacing 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, continuing their mission of maintaining security, training the Iraqi security forces, and helping their local leaders govern the country efficiently.

 “This may be the fifth time this battalion has deployed, but a lot of these Marines that have deployed before are facing something completely different,” said Capt. Chris McGuire, Kilo Company commander, 3/4.

 McGuire continued to say the environment in Iraq is a lot safer than their last deployment.

 A somber mood from family and friends mixed with excitement was felt as Marines and sailors from 3/4 said goodbye to their loved ones.

 “I am going to miss him so much,” said Pfc. Jennifer Vaughn of Headquarters Battalion and Cincinnati, Ohio, native. She is the wife of Lance Cpl. Eddy Ampie, a food service specialist for Headquarters and Services Company, 3/4. “I wish I could go with him, but I know he has to do this.”

 Ampie, a New York native, agreed with his wife, saying he was nervous, but the training he went through has made him ready to deploy.

 Lt. Col. William Visted, 3/4’s battalion commander, also expressed his excitement to deploy.

 “We are 100 percent ready to go,” said Visted, the Springfield, Va., native. “I am confident in my Marines.”

 Family members and friends waved goodbye to the Marines and sailors of 3/4 as they loaded on to the buses and began their journey to western Al Anbar Province.


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