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Thread: Hoosier Marines Welcomed Home
04-09-06, 08:36 AM #1
Hoosier Marines Welcomed Home
Hoosier Marines Welcomed Home
Sat Apr 8, 6:28 PM ET
Nine Marines from Indiana returned Saturday to cheers and cries after 10 months away from home, seven of those months in Iraq.
The Indianapolis-based 4th Maintenance Batallion helped establish 11 new city councils in Iraq. They restored critical infrastructures and helped Iraqis hold their first national parliamentary elections.
Families were proud of the work their loved ones did and grateful for their return, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported.
Rachel Mundell had just six weeks with her new husband, Cpl. Josh Mundell, before he had to leave.
"We got engaged last January and we were planning a New Year's Eve wedding," Rachel Mundell said. About March 3 or 4, he came home from drill and said, 'I have to leave June 1.' So scratch New Year's Eve and hello Vegas!"
Josh Mundell had a close call while he was in Iraq.
"He was in a patrol vehicle and one day his wife called and said he had hit a roadside bomb, but he was alright," said Rebecca Mundell, Josh's sister.
The worry and sleepless nights became a distant memory for the nine families of the Marines once the doors opened and their loved ones arrived.
Josh Mundell told 6News he plans to go back to school, but will spend as much time as possible with family now.
04-09-06, 08:45 AM #2
Local Marines return from Iraq
4/8/2006 7:32:49 PM
By: Brad Broders, News 14 Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A group of local Marines returned home safe and sound from a tour of duty in Iraq on Saturday, and Charlotte area families said they are both thrilled and honored to be with their loved ones again.
Marine wife Angela Novak said she couldn’t be more proud of her husband, Joseph, and the Iraqi mission he and the U.S. Marines’ 6th Civilian Affairs Group successfully carried out.
“Now it’s about helping the people and helping them rebuild their country, and living in a free nation,” she said. “So I think that their work is probably the most important of what’s going on right now.”
Novak and others were overflowing with pride and patriotism when they welcomed back their heroes at Charlotte’s Marine Reserve Training Center. The CAG unit just wrapped up a seven-month assignment in Iraq’s Anwar Province. The group mediated between civilians and government officials, acting as a critical link between a startup and a thriving democracy.
“We’re there to assist, and basically just advising them. When they need help we come help them, and also try to encourage them to take care of their own people,” said Cpl. Joseph Novak.
In addition to helping the Iraqis, the Marine families also took care of one another by leaning on each other through daily contact and Internet chat rooms.
Melody Neely, the mother of a Marine, said the next letter, the next phone call, the next anything, kept her going through the ordeal.
Now reunited, these Marines said they’ll get back into the civilian and family groove, and cherish all that the Tar Heel State has to offer.
“Since I’m in North Carolina I want to go get some pork barbecue, some Cheerwine and get ready for race week in Charlotte next month,” said Capt. Matthew Neely.
And ready for a new chapter in their family lives.
Web Journalist: Lindsay Varner
04-09-06, 08:56 AM #3
Article published Apr 9, 2006
Greensboro Marines back from Iraq tour
By Allison Perkins
Special to the News & Record
GREENSBORO -- Hugs were abundant. Tears flowed. Words, about the war, were few.
Family and friends cheered, waved flags and threw their arms into the air as they closed in on the line of camouflaged Marines slowly stepping off the bus.
The men glanced over the crowd and smiled as they spotted their moms, cousins, children and wives. Almost in slow motion they were engulfed by the giddy mob and folded into the arms of their families.
"It's good to be home," they each told the hovering TV cameras, in turn. "It's good to be home."
On Saturday, 21 Marines of the Greensboro-based Detachment 1, Electronic Maintenance Company, 4th Maintenance Battalion, returned to Greensboro after a seven-month tour in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
The Marines returned to the Triad Armed Forces Center, on McCloud Road, after reporting to Camp Lejeune earlier in the week.
In Iraq, the North Carolinians joined reserve Marines from around the nation to create the 6th Civil Affairs Group and worked directly with the people and local governments of the region to rebuild the nation.
During the deployment, three of the Greensboro-based Marines were wounded in action. They will receive Purple Hearts in a ceremony later this month.
Reporters hovered, anxious for details about the medals. The Marines made it clear they were not there to tell war stories. Instead, they wanted to savor the day, enjoying the love of their families.
"I'm so thankful to God that he's home safe," said Lisa Cook, aunt of Sgt. David Todd Cook. "I never understood how hard it was on families to have somebody gone until I did it.
"Every time I'd see a bombing on TV, I'd pray and say, 'please don't let him be in that group,' " she says. "We're really proud of him. He had some close calls and God brought him through it."
As the Marines melted into the crowd, they quickly caught up on the world they left behind.
Candy Brown, of McLeansville, pregnant with her second child, wowed her brother Cpl. Charles Carter with her growing belly. The family snapped pictures as Carter than held his 3-month-old cousin, Katie Miller, for the first time.
The hubbub was unimpressive to the tyke, who slept through most of the celebration.
Master Sgt. David Minter, of Haw River, was already taking orders from his daughter, Jacqueline, who decided the family was going to celebrate with dinner at Rock-O-La Cafe. The preteen said she loved the restaurant, as did her dad.
Cook laughed when asked what his plans for the night included.
"I can't tell you," he teased.
The men will spend several days at home with their families before returning to the unit to begin out-processing from the deployment.
Easter will be the first holiday the Marines and their families have spent together since September. At Christmas, they remained in the desert.
Kimberly Minter said there are no elaborate Easter plans at their house to celebrate her husband's homecoming.
"We're just going to hide eggs and find eggs," she said. "We're just going to be a family."
Contact Allison Perkins at 373-7157 or firstname.lastname@example.org
04-09-06, 09:20 AM #4
Nutmeg dancer returns from Iraq
JENNA CIARAMELLA , Register Citizen Staff
TORRINGTON - Smiles, hugs and kisses surrounded a local Marine Saturday as he came home from Iraq.
Marine Corps Sgt. Roman Baca, 31, returned on April 6 after spending seven months of service in Fallujah with the Tow Platoon 25th Marines Reserve.
"I am so thankful," Baca’s mother, Anna Shawver, said Saturday. "I don’t know how to act yet. It is almost surreal."
Baca, of Beacon Falls, worked as a dancer for the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts for four years. Close friends from the area organized a party at Memories on Main Bar and Grille to celebrate his safe return and the end of his service in the Marines.
"It feels like the biggest weight in the world has been lifted off of my shoulders," said close friend Lindsey McCarthy, Torrington.
Many people were praying for Baca’s safe return, McCarthy said.
Shawver, who is visiting from New Mexico, said it has been difficult handling emotions while her son was away and reports in the media did not help.
"I just prayed and trusted that he would complete his objectives there," Shawver said. "The goal is to come home alive."
Baca, originally from Albuquerque, N.M., moved to Connecticut in 1998 to dance classical ballet professionally at the Nutmeg, 58 Main Street. After dancing for about four years, Baca said he wanted to enlist in the Marines for the challenge, college opportunity and because he fell in love and wanted to prove to himself that he could be a man and support a family.
Before he left for Iraq, he was expressive, emotional and passionate, his mother said. Since he returned he is reserved, controlled and calculated, she said.
"He’s different, but it’s positive," Shawver said.
While in Iraq, Baca has shared his experiences with The Register Citizen readers through his letters.
"I’m very proud of him," said Alexi Tchernichov, director and ballet master at the Nutmeg Conservatory. "Thank god it’s over."
Baca said he will take one month off to "decompress" and then intends on working at an engineering company in Brookfield.
"I am also going to take salsa lessons and go scuba diving and start doing the things on my ‘To Do’ list for when I got home," Baca said. "We all made them (in Iraq)."
Her son is very anxious to get back to life, Shawver said.
Jenna Ciaramella can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
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