MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines and sailors with 7th Marine Regiment returned to a welcoming party of family and friends at Del Valle Field Saturday after a yearlong deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Seventh Marines replaced the 3rd Marine Regiment whose continuing mission was to conduct counterinsurgency operations in support of Afghan national security forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. They had assumed authority over Helmand Province and took part in three major operations while deployed there.
“These Marines were exposed to a lot of combat every day for a whole year,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jose Cansino, the regimental motor transportation chief. “I was deployed over there with them for six month and it was pretty challenging but the Marines were very motivated.”
The first operation was Cobra’s Anger in Dec. 2009, at Now Zad, Helmand province, Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. During the operation, 300 Marines and sailors dropped in from helicopters into the Now Zad Valley.
Cansino, a native of Angleton Texas, said the regiment was out there alongside the battalions providing support, logistics, ammunition and anything else they needed.
In early 2010, Marines from Regimental Combat Team 7, led by 7th Marines; 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, took part in the Afghan National Army-led Operation Moshtarak. The operation with 15,000 troops mission was to push the Taliban in both Helmand province and the Lashkar Gah district out and put a halt to their profits in selling Opium there, according to http://www.under standingwar.org
The final, major, operation occurred during Operation Roadhouse in Safaar, Helmand province, Afghanistan in cooperation with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.
Family and friends waiting for their Marines and sailors to arrive from the airport tuned into radio station KCDZ 107.7 which had a vehicle trailing the busses, giving periodic updates on how far the buses were from the Combat Center.
“It feels awesome to have my son coming back,” said, John Duplex, father of Cpl. Joshua Duplex. “He actually got hit with an [improvised explosive devise] while he was over there and survived. We had almost lost him, so we are blessed to have him and all these other guys coming home.”
Upon arriving, service members departed the busses and rushed to find their family and friends.
Lisa Amick, the wife of Staff Sgt. Christopher Amick, said her family plans include going to Big Bear, Lake Hemet, Lake Tahoe, hanging out and having a family night. “The kids have been excited and asking ‘When is daddy coming home?’ for the past two days.”