Some Marines depart while others return home - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Some Marines depart while others return home

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It was an emotional day at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base.

Seventeen civilian Marines departed for Iraq Monday morning, while about 10 hours later, eight brave men are returning home and they're scheduled to fly in any minute now at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

Seven of the civilian marines will be gone for a year, the others for six months. They're trained to Maintain military vehicles, specifically mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, and many of them said they're ready excited for the chance to use their skills and training to serve their country.

"It's going to be very hard," said Juanita Cherrill. "I'm going to miss him a lot. Not a day will go by that I'm not going to wish he was back here with me."

Instead Cherrill's husband Timothy will be serving his country in Iraq for one year.

It's his first time traveling overseas as a civilian Marine. "I never got a chance to serve my country and be a part of the military experience, and going through this is going to give me the opportunity to do what I need to do for my country and for my family and myself," he said.

The civilian-Marine employees and contractors are departing for the desert in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Their job is to maintain the military's mine resistant ambush protected vehicles.

And while many couldn't hold back tears as they held their loved ones close, others couldn't hold back their excitement.

"I'm excited. I love the adventure part about it the most. I'm looking forward to helping the troops out," said civilian marine Michael Teal.

"This experience is going to be a once in a lifetime thing and I can't wait to get over there and get started," said Cherrill.

"Travel safe and I look forward to seeing you when you get back... Ooh rah!"

About half of the men that left today have been to Iraq before, and even though a year away from family is tough, they say it's the least they can do to serve their country in this time of war.

The Marine Corps Logistics Base is still recruiting to support more civilian deployments.

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