MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment, were reunited with their friends and family members after a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan when they arrived at Del Valle Field Oct. 9, 2013.
Main Body one, the first large contingent of 3/4, made their way to the Combat Center following the return of the unit’s advanced party last month. The unit had been deployed since March in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The air was cold, and the sky was dark, but hundreds excitedly rushed to see their loved ones when the buses finally arrived. The main body included Company L and Weapons Company.
“It feels great to bring these Marines home,” said Capt. Seth A. Nicholson, company commander, L Co., 3/4. “All of our training and preparation really paid off during this deployment.”
According to Nicholson, the primary mission during the unit’s deployment was to provide security assistance for Afghan forces so they may take their lead as the nation’s security force.
“We’re having the Afghans do the mission Marines have been doing for years now,” Nicholson said. “There’s a lot of discipline involved to teach those security techniques.”
Cooperation between Marines and the Afghan Security Forces culminate in the changing state of the region as combat operations come to a close, according to Nicholson.
“We conducted security force missions,” said Staff Sgt. Ralph Yajama, section leader, Weapons Co., 3/4. “Basically, our job was to protect the forward operating base and allow different organizations to go out and execute operations.”
Families and friends were overjoyed to see their loved ones after seven months.
“I appreciate the support of all of the families and spouses,” Nicholson said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
For 3/4, the road ahead includes the end of an era as the battalion prepares to disband.
“By September 2014, our colors will be rolled up,” Yajama said. “3/4 will be dismantled and the Marines sent to different units. If we are ever needed again, I'm sure we’ll be back.”
The remaining companies within the battalion are slated to arrive in the coming weeks.