Local News

Families bid farewell as Lejeune Marines deploy

Posted November 3, 2009 10:19 a.m. EST
Updated November 3, 2009 5:50 p.m. EST

— More than 100 Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment deployed for Afghanistan early Tuesday. In all, 400 members of the Marine Corps from Camp Lejeune will join others on the front lines of combat for an eight-month tour of duty.

For many of those boarding the buses, combat is the reason they enlisted.

“What you have is a very high number of Marines that have signed up during a period that we've been at war,” Maj. Brad Cowley said.

Those who have seen combat know what to expect. Staff Sgt. Jamie Green said, “It’s pretty much going to be the same thing I've seen in Iraq, just a little more advanced.”

“It’s kind of cool to go to Afghanistan now and be part of the main event,” Cpl. Robert Swift said.

The deployment may be old hat, but the danger has an added edge for Swift. He leaves behind a wife, Ashley, and a 6-week-old daughter.

“It’s the second one I'm going through, but it's the first one with a kid, so I'm a little nervous,” Ashley Swift said.

“I don't know if it’s just having a new baby or what, but I am really scared for this one.”

Lance Cpl. Joseph Ward will be away from his wife for the first time and will miss the birth of their first child. Their son is due in January.

“It’s the hardest thing I will have to do,” he said.

Before the battle begins, families gathered for a final round of photographs, hugs and positive thoughts.

"I know he's going to come back home safe," Jeneita Green said of her Marine.