View Full Version : Marines return to kin, pudding

10-09-05, 06:02 AM
Marines return to kin, pudding
Sergeant back from Iraq calls reunion one of his 'best days ever'
By BRYAN MITCHELL, mitchellb@knews.com
October 9, 2005

Eight months ago Jennifer Reda had what she described as the "worst day of my life" when she bid farewell to her husband as the U.S. Marine Corps reservist deployed to Iraq.

Sgt. Anthony Reda described his Saturday reunion with his wife as one of his "best days ever."

Reda was one of 10 Knoxville-based Marine reservists who returned home Saturday afternoon to a throng of dozens of eagerly awaiting family members and friends at McGhee Tyson Airport.

The group left Knoxville in January for training and departed from Camp Lejeune, N.C., in March. The group was separated into two- and three-man units that were attached to the U.S. Marine Corps' 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, which served in Iraq near the Syrian border.

They were the third group to return home from missions abroad in the past several weeks.

Patty McDaniels' husband, Gunnery Sgt. Robert McDaniels, was the senior enlisted Marine among the contingent that was primarily made up of men in their 20s.

She described his absence as a time of uncertainty set against the hope of a mission worth his service.

"I didn't watch the news media," she said. "You can't dwell on the negative. You have to focus on the positive and believe they are serving for a good cause."

Saturday night, her husband's sacrifice would be rewarded in kind.

"His mother made his two favorites: banana pudding and beef stroganoff," she said. "We plan to sit back as a family and enjoy the (University of Tennessee) Vols game."

The Marines entered the airport concourse to rousing applause. People at the airport stopped in their tracks to join in the heartfelt homecoming.

John Grimes said his son's safe arrival home would translate into his wife's first full night's sleep in months.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a father," he said moments before Sgt. Justin Grimes arrived. "It's always on your peripheral conscious."

Capt. Tim Eichhorn, commander of Delta Company, was also on hand to greet his Marines.

He gushed with pride speaking of the unit's accomplishments but also kept his eye on the future for this group of veterans.

"First, we are going to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday and welcome all these heroes home," he said. "And after the first of the year, we are going to get serious about training."

Bryan Mitchell may be reached at 865-342-6306.