MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Approximately one hundred Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, and Combat Logistics Battalion 7 reunited with friends and family at the Combat Center’s Victory Field Sept. 5 after a seven-month deployment to Iraq.
3/4’s return marks the drawing to a close of their fifth combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. CLB-7 detachments deployed for the third time in February in support of OIF.
The Marines of CLB-7 were based at Camp Fallujah and Ramadi, Iraq, said Lt. Col. Sekou Karega, the battalion commander of CLB-7 and a native of Benton Harbor, Mich.
“Our mission in Iraq was to help supply and support the infantry battalions to accomplish their mission in any way we could,” said Karega. “We had company-level attachments that worked with CLB-1 to assist them in their accomplishing their overall support requirements. Our operations included logistics convoys and handling security for some EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) missions, as well as providing security for recovery missions.”
Service members with 3/4 undertook a different mission while overseas, ranging from combat operations to supervising the Iraqi peacekeeping effort.
“We performed numerous active patrols and point operations,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Frank Pater, who recently returned with his unit as the Headquarters and Service Company executive officer and a native of Ellsworth, Ohio. “We also had a job as over watch of the Iraqis [Iraqi Security Forces]. They’re a newly organized military, and we gave them supervision in performing their task of peacekeeping. The primary goal there was to let them do it with minimum interference from us so when they assume control, when it is their time, it runs as smooth as possible.”
At the Combat Center’s Victory Field friends and family gathered in the morning and waited throughout the day for the service members to return.
“This was our son’s first deployment, and yes, we were worried,” said Randy Flood, father of Lance Cpl. Rylan Flood, who is an electrical equipment repair specialist with CLB-7, and a native of Flora, Ill. “There is a big war going on overseas and our son was part of the conflict. I can’t wait to see him though. I was in the Army during the Gulf War. We both had many things we could identify with before this. It’s what he came in for, and it’s what I was in for as well. I’ll be glad to see my son when he finally comes home safe and sound.”
The family of Cpl. Matt Dombrowski, a welder with CLB-7 and a native of Hammond, Ind., was waiting for their son as well.
“We were really worried about Matthew while he was overseas,” said Martin Dombrowski, father of Cpl. Dombrowski. “We worried and thought about him a lot. It sometimes took up a good portion of our day.”
Dombrowski’s mother, Lydia, said she devoted a lot of time thinking of her son while he was overseas.
“Along with the rest of the family I prayed quite a bit hoping for my son to make it home safely,” she said. “It was hard having him gone. We were used to him being gone because he’s stationed out here, but this was different. I’m just glad that he’s back in the country safe and sound.”
The Marines of CLB-7 will be taking time off, and preparing for another deployment in the upcoming months, whereas 3/4 will be returning to training soon, after enjoying some post-deployment leave.