MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Thirty-eight Marines and sailors from 3rd Platoon, Company A, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion returned home the evening of Aug. 23 after a seven-month Western Pacific deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard the USS Essex, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
While with the MEU, 3rd LAR acted as a light armored support asset for Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, said Gunnery Sgt. Edward Brickert, 3rd LAR’s training chief.
Their first stop was Chiang Mai, Thailand for the joint service exercise Cobra Gold from Feb. 4-17. Cobra Gold is an annual event hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand to promote regional peace and security. This year, the countries of Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and the United States took part in the two-week event.
Members of 3rd LAR also took part in two classes at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan. One group took the Jungle skills course, a 6-day course that focuses on patrolling and combat skills in a jungle environment.
Members of 3rd LAR and 31st MEU also took part in the Jungle Endurance course. According to the JWTC web site, http://jwtc.mcbbutler. usmc.mil/, “The Jungle Endurance Course is a 3.4 mile trek through the jungle designed to test the student’s newly developed skills.” The group managed to tie the course record for fastest time to complete the course.
Next, the MEU set sail for the Philippines to participate in Balikatan, a joint Philippines-U.S. military exercise.
The culminating exercise for 3rd LAR and the MEU was Talisman Saber, one of Australia’s largest multilateral training exercises, July 6-25. This biennial combined training activity is designed to help U.S. and Australian forces work together more efficiently.
When the Marines and sailors were riding the bus to Victory Field to see friends and loved ones some were calling ahead to let family and friends know how close they were.
As the bus got closer, everyone stoop up and anxiously waited for the bus to finally pull up. The Marines and sailors quickly got off the bus and went straight to those who were here to welcome them home.
There were hugs, kisses and several teary-eyes all around.
Sgt. Jeremy Quackenbush held his five week-old son Caerus for the first time. When he finally held his child, he seemed not to notice the world around him. It was just him and his new baby.
Ana Marulitua wife of Lance Cpl. Zackary Marulitua said “It is exciting to see him after so long.”
Ana has been raising two children, ages’ 15-months and 11-years, while their father has been deployed.
Friends of Sgt. Christopher Perez waited with a welcome home sign made by friend Kirsten Reed.
Now the Marines and sailors of 3rd Platoon are back at home and will take some time off to be with their friends and family, before they begin training for their next deployment.