CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — About 150 Camp Lejeune Marines returned to their base Tuesday evening after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan.
The troops are part of more than 1,000 from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division that conducted counterinsurgency operations in the Helmland province, a known Taliban hot spot and the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in Afghanistan this year.
The rest of the battalion's troops are expected back by next week.
The U.S. Department of Defense has said 12 members of the battalion were killed during deployment. More than 100 were injured.
Family members eagerly anticipated the return Wednesday, including Lance Cpl. Charles Auge's mother, wife and 4-month-old son, Kayo.
"I'm excited. I'm a little nervous. It's been a while, especially with him being a new dad," his wife, Sarah Auge, said. "I'm ready for him to be safe at home. He already feels like he's missed too much."
The Marines were part of a surge of 12,000 troops to Afghanistan in the spring.
Their return comes as President Barack Obama must decide whether to send more troops to the war zone. The president has not indicated a decision but has said a complete withdrawal is not possible.