MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Before dawn broke on the morning of April 1, 2012, Marines and sailors with the advance party, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment returned home to their loved ones during their homecoming celebration.
“There is the anticipation that they haven’t seen them in seven months,” said Andrea Tatayon, Family Readiness Officer, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. “They are nervous. All those things that you get you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time, they are getting right now.”
The anticipations was intensified due to the limited contact the families had with their Marines because of the nature of the battalion.
“With our battalion being an infantry unit, we don’t always have the access to the communication that other battalions have,” Tatayon said. “Because of the area they were in, they didn’t have regular contact with them. It was very special when they could get on a cell phone and talk for five minutes or occasionally do the Skype thing.”
Tatayon tried to keep those seven months busy for the ones left behind with events like classes on how to prioritize the time they had to talk with their Marines. There were also monthly events to keep morale up, make new friends or to help them make their Marines’ transitions back to normal life easier.
“They did a very good job,” said Erin Hussey, wife of Gunnery Sgt. James Hussey, company gunnery sergeant, Co. K. “The children’s reunion and wife reunion brief were very informative. The monthly and social events helped the time pass during this deployment. It helped to know that we had the support socially and resources on base available.”
After the buses arrived with the long-awaited troops, the waiting crowd took only enough time peering through the limited 3 a.m. lighting to figure out which Marine out of the blur of uniforms was theirs before rushing into hugs and heading home.
“When we get home, we will get right back into the routine,” Hussy said. “We have been through eight deployments, and even though each one has had its challenges, dealing with it has gotten easier.”