View Full Version : ‘This is what you join the Marines for'

05-15-09, 07:13 AM
‘This is what you join the Marines for'
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May 14, 2009 - 11:11 AM

When Cpl. Sean O'Neil returns from deployment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, it will be to an expanded family.

His daughter, Riley Sky, is due Aug. 30, said his wife, Allison O'Neil.

Cpl. O'Neil, who is with Combat Logistics Battalion 22, said he was "a little nervous about leaving the new one," but excited to get underway.

"It was a fun time last year, saw quite a few people and helped a few people in Djibouti, so maybe we can do that again," he said.

Despite the excitement, Cpl. O'Neil hopes that he will be back aboard Camp Lejeune for the birth of his daughter.

"It's a possibility they might let some of us go that are having kids but we aren't sure. It all depends on mission-centered things," he said.

Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU began deploying this week for a regularly scheduled seven-month deployment. The MEU will be a part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which is made up of three ships, 4,000 sailors and 2,200 Marines.

The MEU consists of the Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); CLB 22 and its Command Element, according to information from 22nd MEU Public Affairs.

This MEU is the first for the MV-22B Osprey.

"With added speed ... we can respond to a mass casualty," said Lt. Col. Gary Keim, Battalion Commander for CLB 22, explaining that the aircraft will allow medical personnel to hover over a site and get those in need of medical attention to care quickly.

During the last six months, Marines and sailors have prepared for the possibility of any mission, including medical, humanitarian and combat, Keim said.

"You train for everything, and you end up with a unit that's very well-rounded," he said.

This MEU is the first for Gunnery Sgt. Keith Allen Sandor, with CLB 22.

"This is what you join the Marines for: travel and adventure," he said.

The MEU is headed to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, but the Marines don't know exactly what they will face.

"It's kind of like life, you never know what you're going to do," Sandor said.

This deployment is the second MEU for Cpl. Sergio Soto.

"I'm actually looking forward to head to the Mediterranean. ... We're pretty much trained to take on any mission," he said. "I'm excited to go."

While Soto was leaving his girlfriend, family and friends behind, he will keep in contact with them via phone and e-mail, and remained excited in his final minutes before boarding one of the three Southern charter buses waiting to take the Marines to meet the rest of the MEU in Morehead City.

"It's great," he said." It's just the act of surprise. You know you're ready and your fellow Marines are ready."

Contact military reporter Amanda Hickey at 910-219-8461 or ahickey@freedomenc.com. Visit the Lejeune Deployed blog at http://lejeunedeployed.freedomblogging.com.