MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Three individual contingents with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, staged sea bags and gear in the presence of families and friends before departing for Afghanistan over the course of Sept. 14, 2013 through Sept. 17, 2013 at Felix Field.
The main body, which follows the advanced party that departed earlier this month, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and is replacing 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment as they prepare to return to the Combat Center.
“These Marines have been working hard,” said Capt. James Covey, company commander, H & S Co. “The entire battalion did very well during our Integrated Training Exercise.”
Company commanders addressed the families and friends of those with 3/7 that would be awaiting their return.
“Your love and continued support makes a difference,” Covey said. “It will help your Marines and sailors throughout this deployment.”
“These Marines are well-trained, well-equipped, and rest assured that they are well-led by their non-commissioned officers,” said Capt. Doug Ferreria, company commander, L Co., 3/7. “They have the resources they need to make this deployment a success.”
With the buses ready to go, the unit loaded their belongings to begin their journey to Afghanistan. They took in their last moments with their loved ones.
“I’m feeling sad because this will be his second deployment,” said Alyssa Lynch, spouse of Lance Cpl. Jonathan Lynch, infantryman, H & S Co., 3/7. “I'm going to keep busy with our baby, but (Lynch) is going to miss a lot of things his son will do.”
Gabbi Telles, spouse of Cpl. Aaron Telles, machine gunner, L Co., 3/7, was also seeing her husband depart for the second time.
“The hardest part of a deployment is seeing them go,” Telles said. “We need to stay strong and keep busy until our Marines return.”
Communication will be key for both the Telles and Lynch families, with hopes that letters and Skype messaging will keep them connected to their spouses.
The Marines and sailors are slated to return in April of next year. Over the deployment, they will concentrate on working alongside the Afghan National Security Forces as they prepare them to take the lead in counter-insurgency operations.
“This battalion has been working very hard these past seven months,” Covey said. “There is no battalion more prepared to go to combat and be successful than these Marines right here.”