View Full Version : After a year in Iraq, Marines welcomed home with parade

04-21-08, 07:29 AM
After a year in Iraq, Marines welcomed home with parade

WYOMING — Seven Marines were honored with a parade Sunday in celebration of their return from Iraq.

Sgt. Jason Beall, Sgt. Anthony Doblovasky, Cpl. Matthew C. Gennaria, Lance Cpl. Matthew Pisko, Lance Cpl. Sean Janowicz, Lance Cpl. David Wilmore and Lance Cpl. Jonathan Costanzo returned from a yearlong deployment. They are part of Support Squadron 472, Detachment Alpha.

The Marines assembled at River Street and Rutter Avenue in Forty Fort and were escorted to the U.S. Marines Training Center on Wyoming Avenue by a cavalcade of firetrucks and police cars.

Some residents sat in lawn chairs in front of their homes and waved flags as the trucks passed by. Cheering crowds greeted the Marines when they arrived at the training center.

The Marines said they are looking forward to seeing their families and getting back into their normal routine.

“It’s nice to get back to your life,” said Sgt. Beall.

The Marines were pleased but surprised by the turnout for the day’s events.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” said Lance Cpl. Pisko. “But it was very nice.”

Many of the Marines’ family members joined in the festivities. The unit began the day with a Family Day picnic at Frank Slaper Park in Swoyersville.

“We’ve been ever celebrating since he’s been home,” said Ann Janowicz, mother of Lance Cpl. Janowicz. “He’s been enjoying civilian food and visiting relatives.”

She said it was heartening to see how many people were present for the parade.

“It was very moving to see so many patriotic people come out and support our troops,” she said.

Mrs. Janowicz said she hopes the situation in Iraq will be better by the time they are deployed again.

“If they do go back, it’d be nice if they go back in peacetime,” she said.

Contact the writer: kgaydos@citizensvoice.com


04-21-08, 07:31 AM
Crowd embraces Marines back from Iraq war
Parade salutes 7 soldiers from Wyoming squadron

By Steve Mocarskysmocarsky@timesleader.com
Staff Writer

Clapping, cheering and waving flags, patriotic folks lined the sidewalks of River Street and Wyoming Avenue in Forty Fort and Wyoming on Sunday to welcome back U.S. Marines who returned from Iraq last week.

Standing in the back of a transport truck, seven members of Marine Support Squadron 472, Detachment Alpha, in Wyoming, smiled and waved at those gathered along the parade route.

The truck was part of a parade of 16 police, fire and rescue units and ambulances from Forty Fort, Wyoming, West Wyoming, Kingston and Exeter that drove to the Marine Training Center in Wyoming with sirens blaring and air horns honking.

“To see how grateful people are and how much they support us, it’s hard to describe,” Sgt. Jason Beall said after the parade.

In a red, white and blue shirt, Ruth Oswald, of Kingston, headed to Forty Fort on her regular walk to coincide with the parade. “I’m very patriotic,” she said.

Clara Henkle waved a flag as she and Freda Miller sat on lawn chairs in front of their River Street homes.

“We’re out here to see our boys ride by. &hellip I’m sure it made them feel good,” Miller said.

Patty Butler displayed an American flag at her home, as did her neighbor, Jeannette Space.

Mark Space hung a large flag on his mother’s home because he knew the parade would be passing by. He said he saw a story about it on The Times Leader Web site and “gave everybody here a heads up that they would be coming down the street.”

“There’s very little any of us can do to show our appreciation for what they’re doing, so we come out and cheer them on,” said Eleanor Schneider, who lives with the Spaces.

Mark’s wife, Jill, said the Marines looked “surprised and overwhelmed,” by the turnout.

The parade followed the squadron’s annual Family/Community Day picnic at Frank Slapar Park in West Wyoming.

Squadron members and their families played football, baseball and volleyball while Froggy 101 DJs played music and broadcast live from the park.

Numerous area grocery stores, restaurants and florists donated picnic foods and raffle items.

First Sgt. Mark Byrd said the squadron tries to incorporate the community in the annual event, which was planned to coincide with the end of the Marines’ seven-month deployment.

Byrd said the men augmented Marine Wing Support Squadron 473 out of Fresno, Calif., which was short on personnel.

Master Sgt. Mike Steinruck, the squadron’s senior enlisted officer, said the homecoming event would “mean a lot to these Marines. I know it meant a lot to me when I came back (from Iraq after a 2003 deployment),” he said.

The Marines were stationed at Al-Asad Air Base, northwest of Baghdad in the Al Anbar Province, and at Forward Operating Base Al-Qain, near the Syrian border, said Chief Warrant Officer Bernard Panasiewicz.

In addition to refueling jets and bombers and performing patrols, the men encountered some heart-wrenching sights.

“Driving through the streets and seeing those (Iraqi) kids, how poor they are and how they live” was among Lance Cpl. Sean Janowicz’s most vivid memories.

“Their playground is a trash dump. It makes you realize you can’t take things for granted,” said Lance Cpl. David Wilmore.

The men brought back some encouraging memories as well.

“My Marines, how they worked together, how everything fell in place, came together, how we all looked out for each other,” were the things Sgt. Anthony Doblovasky said he recalls best.

Stan Doblovasky, of West Pittston, said he’s glad his son, who works as a state trooper at the Lehighton barracks, is back at home. And he knows his son and the other Marines appreciate the parade and picnic.

“It honors the boys for what they’ve done. It shows we appreciate them for what they’ve done, what they had to do,” he said.
The Returning Marines

To see more photos, log on to www.timesleader.com

• Sgt. Jason K. Beall, York

• Sgt. Anthony Doblovasky, West Pittston

• Cpl. Matthew C. Gennaria, Bloomsburg

• Lance Cpl. Matthew T. Pisko, Gouldsboro

• Lance Cpl. Sean Janowicz, Moscow

• Lance Cpl. David F. Wilmore, Phoenixville

• Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Costanzo, Lansdale

Steve Mocarsky, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 459-2005.