View Full Version : It's back to Iraq for Yuma Marines

02-24-06, 07:24 AM
It's back to Iraq for Yuma Marines
Feb 23, 2006

Being deployed means missing birthday parties, anniversary dinners and family reunions.

"No one wants to leave their families. But it's a job we have to do," Sgt. Alfred Morin with Marine Air Control Squadron-1 said. "It's something we have to do."

Thursday was more than the date of departure for Morin. It was his 2-year-old son's birthday.

Morin was among the 200 Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma who left for Iraq Thursday night. They will be stationed in Al Asad, Iraq.

"Daddy, will you be gone six months or six years?" Nickolas Collins, 7, asked his dad.

The answer is six months.

His father, Sgt. Anthony Collins with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron-13, deployed to Iraq in 2003. He hasn't deployed since then. That doesn't make it any easier, said his wife of six years, Kimberly.

"I talked to my mom every day and I have this one," she said pointing at her son. "He helps take care of me."

So what's the hardest part?

"When I have to drive off knowing he is not coming back home for while," she said.

For two-thirds of the Marines with Marine Attack Squadron-513, this is their second deployment to Iraq, said Lt. Col. Willis Price, commander of the squadron. It is his third Iraqi deployment.

"It's like any other business. We have ones that have been there and know what to expect, what to pack and they help the other ones," he said.

This deployment is unique in the fact that the entire squadron and 10 aircraft are leaving together. Usually
detachments or a portion of the squadron deploys.

When asked how many pilots are going, Price said he couldn't disclose that information for security reasons.

"Let's say I have enough pilots for all my aircraft," Price said.

For Lance Cpl. Owen Gibson with MACS-1, this is also his second deployment.

"He just got home five months ago. They told them they would have a year at home," Gibson's wife, Katie, said.

After three months, they found out he was going back to the Middle East.

"I cried. I got mad. I asked him if there was anything he could do so he could stay home," she said.

There wasn't.

With a tear-stained face, Gibson said it's better that he leaves now.

"Then he can be back home for the holidays," she said. "He'll just miss his birthday and our (third) anniversary."

Owen Gibson will turn 22 next week. The couple has never celebrated an anniversary together.

Gibson said she is adapting to the time apart and knows how to "distract" herself from thinking about him. But a deployment is never routine.

"You never get used to losing someone you love, but you get used to him not being there," she said.