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Lance Cpl. Robert Williamson, a tank crewman with Alpha Co., 1st Tank Battalion, passionately kisses his wife, Stephaney, after his seven-month deployment with 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion to Afghanistan at the advanced party’s homecoming Oct. 20, 2010.::r::::n::

Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

3rd CEB, 1st Tanks families welcome advance party

29 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Family and friends waited into the cold hours of the night to welcome home the advance party from 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion and Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, at the Combat Center Oct. 20, 2010.

During the seven-month deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan, the 1st Tanks Bn. Marines provided route clearance while 3rd CEB kept the heavy equipment operational.

Families and friends waited more than two hours for their Marines and sailors with anticipation and excitement.

“They are all bubbling over,” said Jena Wojciechowski, the 3rd CEB’s family readiness officer. “I have six wives that are just giggling they are so excited.”

Some of the families waiting had big surprises in store for the returning heroes.

The brother of Lance Cpl. Robert Williamson’s, a tank crewman with Co. A, 1st Tanks Bn., drove six hours to see him.

“I told him his brother wasn’t going to make it, and he and his brother are super close,” said Williamson wife, Stephaney. “When he gets off the bus, he is going to see me and the kids. Then I am going to tell him I forgot my purse in the building, and when we get inside he will see his brother.”

When the buses finally arrived a little after 1 a.m., the Marines wasted no time reuniting with their loved ones and heading home for some well earned time off.

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