MCLB civilian workers return home from Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

MCLB civilian workers return home from Iraq

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By Cade Fowler - bio | email

July 2, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The poster board sign on a Humvee says it all, "Welcome Home Guys." At the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, family members of six civilian MCLB workers anxiously awaited their return Tuesday night.

For the past six months, these workers have been thousands of miles of away in Iraq on a mission; a mission to make sure that soldiers fighting in a war zone will someday receive the same homecoming.

"Their mission over in Iraq was two fold - to maintain and sustain the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles - the MRAP vehicles that our Marines are driving out there on patrols. Those are the vehicles that are fully up-armored. Marines are walking away from road side bombs, improvised explosive devices because of the armor and design of these vehicles," says USMC Colonel Dan Gillan.

Back on the grounds of the MCLB - on the heels of an Independence Day weekend - there is without a doubt a sense of accomplishment.

"Independence Day we're going to celebrate good because we're home and there's a lot of young people that are coming home because of what these people are doing down there," says MCLB Civil Service Supervisor Carlos Cruz.

But for the family members of these workers, it's a sigh of relief to see them home. It's a feeling that's best expressed by hugs and the humble words of a young kid.

"I'm so happy that he's coming back tonight, and I missed him. It's been a long time since he's been here," said Brandon More who was waiting for his papa, Michael McDuffie.

It was 6-months of learning for these workers - lessons they'll never forget.

"I appreciate a lot of things I have today, and I learned that being over there with them," said MCLB mechanic Donnie Collett. Collett, who was stationed at Camp Fallujah also learned he's going to be a grandpa.

Also returning from Camp Fallujah were mechanics Chad Newberry, James Long, and Michael McDuffie. Carlos Cruz was stationed Al Taqaddum and mechanic Charles Cook was stationed in Al Asod, Iraq.

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