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Thread: Isle Marines off to Afghanistan
01-05-06, 07:13 AM #1
Isle Marines off to Afghanistan
Isle Marines off to Afghanistan
About 1,000 members of the 1st Battalion will be deployed there for seven months
By Gregg K. Kakesako
Kaneohe Marines who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are now off to Afghanistan again, this time for seven months.
Since 2004 there has been a contingent of nearly 1,000 Kaneohe Marines in Afghanistan.
Gunnery Sgt. Philip Myers, a 14-year veteran, estimated that about 25 percent of the nearly 1,000 Marines who were in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, when it deployed to Iraq in 2004 will again see combat in Afghanistan.
The Marines in his unit "are ready to go," said Myers, a 1991 Campbell High School graduate. "They want to go and handle business."
Myers, who joined the 1st Battalion last April, said the seven-month deployment is "just another part of the job you have to do."
His wife, Sandra, said she does not see any difference in her husband's current deployment.
"To me it's all the same," she said. "They are both in the danger zone, regardless if it is in Iraq or Afghanistan."
She said they have spent a "lot of family time together" with their 6-year-old daughter, Kiana, before he leaves this morning.
"We want him to know that we love him very much," she said. "I am proud of what he does. ... I support him 100 percent. All I pray for is that he stays alert and stays safe."
As the Marine Corps swaps out Kaneohe infantry units in Afghanistan, Army officials have upped the training tempo of nearly 7,000 soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division who will be going to Iraq this summer.
Meanwhile, nearly 2,200 Hawaii Army National Guard and Army reservists assigned to the 29th Brigade Combat Team are returning after spending more than 10 months in Iraq.
Nearly 400 members of the 1st Battalion from Kaneohe Bay were to leave Oahu this morning. They will be joined by another 600 Marines from the same unit next week.
In Afghanistan the Kaneohe Marines from the 1st Battalion will replace fellow Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, who left the Windward Oahu base in June. Elements of the 2nd Battalion are expected to arrive home this weekend.
Since November 2004 all three battalions of the 3rd Marine Regiment have been deployed to Afghanistan. The first was the 3rd Battalion, followed by the 2nd Battalion in June and now the 1st Battalion.
This will be the second combat assignment for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. In July 2004, 900 members of the battalion left for Okinawa for what was supposed to be a routine seven-month deployment. The unit was redeployed to Iraq that fall for the assault on Fallujah in November 2004.
Forty-three Marines and two sailors assigned to the 1st Battalion were killed in action in Iraq before the unit returned to Kaneohe in April.
The largest loss occurred on Jan. 26 when 26 Marines from the 1st Battalion from Kaneohe Bay and one Navy corpsman based at Pearl Harbor were killed in a helicopter crash.
Nearly 7,000 Marines and sailors are stationed at the Kaneohe base.
01-07-06, 06:26 AM #2
Blessed at Camp Blessing, Afghanistan
Mary Feldhusen - email@example.com
Escanaba Daily Press
Not everyone is pictured because of "missions and guard post and stuff like that," Roy said, "but there was plenty for everyone."
ESCANABA - No snow or evergreen trees were anywhere in sight near Camp Blessing in December, but a Christmas stocking was hung there with care. Marine Cpl. Joseph Roy, Gladstone, and his fellow Marines at the camp in Afghanistan were blessed with some extra-special Christmas gifts and holiday greetings, compliments of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) staff at the CAA. The handmade Christmas stocking was crafted for Roy by Mae St. Juliana of Hermansville, an RSVP volunteer.
The packages arrived in Afghanistan the night of Dec. 11 after being sent out from Escanaba on Dec. 1.
"It was really quick," Roy said. "Sometimes I don't get mail from my mom for months."
The Marines opened the boxes the next day. They found them packed with everything from toothpaste, soap and toiletries to candy, treats and homemade cookies along with handmade greeting cards fashioned by Gladstone Middle School students and children in the Gladstone ABCD Program (formerly the Afterschool Program).
Marines separated the contents into categories - toiletries, food, socks and miscellaneous, Roy said. Gifts and goodies were distributed among the 100 Marines in Roy's regiment with plenty left over to share with members of the Afghan special forces.
"There was plenty for everyone," Roy wrote in an e-mail to his mother, Denise Busch, an administrative program manager for the Early Childhood Program at the Community Action Agency (CAA) in Escanaba. "Everyone got stuff, and was very happy and appreciative."
Roy got to deliver a thank-you in person to the staff at the CAA. He arrived home in Gladstone late Christmas Eve. His whole unit was pulled out of Afghanistan and is being replaced by another group of Marines.
"I was just lucky to get the first flight out," Roy said.
"Joe himself came in personally to thank us," said Rhonda Raspor, RSVP supervisor/secretary. "Those of us around here are extremely grateful we were able to help make their (Marines) Christmas a bit more enjoyable."
Roy served in Afghanistan approximately 6¢ months. His entire unit will be out of the country by Jan. 20, he noted.
"I only have about a year left in the Marines," Roy said.
He enlisted in the Marines in January 2003. He was on leave until Jan. 4 when he returned to duty. He will be stationed in Hawaii for the next few months, he said. He is not sure if he will be redeployed for service in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Roy's Echo Company at Camp Blessing was originally "adopted" by the RSVP as a "Make a Difference Day" project in October. When volunteers began collecting for Christmas packages, they were overwhelmed by the response, said Theresa Nelson, RSVP director.
Busch was also touched by the outpouring in the community of generosity and support for her son and his Company of Marines.
"It really helps," Busch said. "I want to add my thanks for making this Christmas special for everyone there."
A 2002 graduate of Gladstone High School, Roy is also the son of Michael Roy of Ishpeming.
Mary Feldhusen, (906) 786-2021, ext. 144
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