MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
In the late hours of Saturday and Sunday, the Combat Center began to welcome back the Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, who deployed from the Combat Center in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in March and April, at the Combat Center’s Victory Field.
Although the focus of 2/7’s deployment centered on helping the Afghan people and mentoring the Afghan National Police, increased attacks forced the battalion to conduct more security and counterinsurgency patrols.
In addition to the full spectrum of operations 2/7 was challenged with, the battalion also had to deal with an enormous area of operations, improvised explosive devices, logistical challenges brought on by a quick diversion from Iraq to Afghanistan, as well as having their deployment extended.
However, during the deployment, 2/7 helped to bring peace and prosperity to the local Afghan population by laying the groundwork necessary for future U.S. forces to expand on and by conducting numerous civil military operations projects.
The friends and loved ones of those Marines and sailors who returned Saturday and Sunday braved cold temperatures and late hours, but spirits were high and the warfighters of 2/7 were greeted with loud applause, hugs, kisses, and hot coffee.
Jennifer Kimbrough, the wife of Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyrone Kimbrough, a hospital corpsman with Headquarters and Service Company, said the deployment was tough but with the help of family, God, and frequent trips to the movies, she got through it.
“I’m just glad to have him back,” said Kimbrough. “Just to know he’ll come in at 4:30 in the evening just like he did before he left is great.”
Kimbrough, who braved the cold with the couple’s daughter, Zarria, and son Makaio, said the family held off on Thanksgiving in order to celebrate it as a whole later that night.
“We have a whole lot to be thankful for,” said Kimbrough. “Not just in him returning home, but all of them.”
Katherine Keating, grandmother of Lance Cpl. Travis D. Tuttle, a mortarman with Weapons Company, said she also relied on her religious faith to help her through the deployment and that her Thanksgiving was made extra special by her grandson’s return.
“It’s the best Thanksgiving I could have,” said Keating. “What better Thanksgiving present can you get?”
Tuttle’s mother, Victoria, who was also at the homecoming, said family networking and work helped her deal with the deployment and that she was really excited to have her son back since she knew the experience he was going through all too well due to her involvement in Operation Desert Storm while serving in the army.
Manuel Bojorquez, father of Lance Cpl. Manuel Bojorquez, a rifleman with Company F, said he was very proud to be part of the homecoming for all the Marines.
Bojorquez, an army veteran who participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, also said he gave thanks this Thanksgiving for the warriors of 2/7 who have helped ensure that we can all enjoy our freedoms this holiday season and for many more to come.
The Marines and sailors of Company G and Headquarters and Service Company got a warmer reception later in the week, when they returned during daylight hours to Victory Field and were greeted by friends and family.