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Marines welcomed home (Marine Reserves, Austin TX)
AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF ^ | Friday, April 01, 2005 | By Anita Powell

Posted on 04/01/2005 5:09:32 AM PST by Arrowhead1952

Families, friends welcome Marines at Camp Mabry.

By Anita Powell

Friday, April 01, 2005

Nila Stricker wiped away tears as the Marines marched four abreast, resolutely looking ahead, avoiding eye contact with their joyous family members.

The crowd's cheering drowned out the music — courtesy of a 10-member Austin Police Department bagpipe ensemble — as the reservists stopped and turned, looking directly at their family members.

More than 230 war-weary Marines who arrived Thursday at Camp Mabry were swiftly ambushed by nearly 500 excited family members and friends.

The Marine reservists, many from the Austin area, returned after seven months in Al Anbar province in northern Iraq, where Marines reclaimed the city of Fallujah from insurgents in November. Stricker traveled from Salt Lake City to see her son, Texas State University student Lance Cpl. Matthew Dennis, 22.

"I can breathe easier now than I have breathed for the last seven months," she said, blinking away tears. "I am so excited. There are just no words."

Women and men in the crowd wept with joy; children jumped up and down, waving flags; family members called out names and words or encouragement.

The returning Marines are members of two Reserve units at Camp Mabry: Weapons Company and a detachment from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines. Three soldiers in Weapons Company, including Cpl. Joseph Fite, 23, of Round Rock were killed during the deployment.

Lance Cpl. Justin Gower, 21, who was injured by a land mine in December, came to welcome his company home.

"I was with these guys from the beginning. I wanted to see them, and they wanted to see me," said Gower, a Westwood High School graduate who was left with permanent hearing loss, a metal rod in his femur, no sense of smell and a metal plate in his head.

"It was worth it," he said. "I made a difference."

Cpl. Vincent Chen, 21, a slight, bespectacled biochemistry student at the University of Texas, said he felt his experience was valuable, though difficult.

In Fallujah, he said, "A lot of times, it just sucked. We didn't get a lot of sleep. We were working all the time."

"I have a lot more gray hairs on my head," he said with a smile.

"I'm very happy," beamed his mother, Lin Chen, who lives in Sugar Land. "He's our hero."

But, she added quickly, "I think that's enough experience for him."

The Flores family — about 35 of them — decked out in custom-made red T-shirts to welcome home Cpl. Jesse Flores, 28, of Granger.

"This family sticks together," said his sister, Angie Ochoa, 31. "We're each other's tape."

She said she was proud of her brother, a technician at Dell Inc. who joined the Marine Reserves two weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"He just wanted to do something for his country," she said.

Upon seeing his family, "his eyes got all red," teased his sister, wiping her eyes.

Cpl. David Harris, 26, a business student at UT, locked arms, legs and lips with his girlfriend, Courtney Wallace, 22. Their relationship, he said, grew through e-mails they exchanged while he was deployed.

"I've been waiting on that kiss for a long time," he said.

He said he was proud that a group of Marines from Central Texas had made a difference in the war in Iraq.

"We made one of the biggest impacts in the Iraqi war," he said. "We basically upheld democracy over there. Austin now has a bunch of Marines who have been there, done that."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: iraq; marines; welcome; welcomehome

Jessica Flores, 12, jumps for joy Thursday along with other members of her family as they spot the buses at Camp Mabry carrying 250 Marine reservists returning from Iraq. Members of the extended family of Jesse Flores, also known as Uncle Boy, came to greet their Marine, wearing custom-made red shirts.

1 posted on 04/01/2005 5:09:32 AM PST by Arrowhead1952
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Radix; Kathy in Alaska; MoJo2001; LaDivaLoca; Fawnn; bentfeather; ...

Welcome home for the Marine Reserves ping....


2 posted on 04/01/2005 5:10:44 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (TV News and the MSM - - - ROTFLMAO)
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To: Arrowhead1952

Thanks for posting this! I heard on the radio that 50 motorcycle cops escorted the soldiers' buses. I'd love to have been there! So happy they're home!


3 posted on 04/01/2005 5:12:59 AM PST by Clara Lou (I'm not pro-death, I'm anti-hysteria. [WPPFF member])
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To: Arrowhead1952

I love these types of posts. I wish I could have been there to cheer them and welcome them home. I'll bet all those liberal anti-war, blame America first cretins in Austin had major heartburn.


4 posted on 04/01/2005 5:17:57 AM PST by SwatTeam
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To: Clara Lou
I saw some of them after their return. They looked relieved and so happy. The buses and motorcycle cops were leaving Camp Mabry right at 430 yesterday.
5 posted on 04/01/2005 5:19:32 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (TV News and the MSM - - - ROTFLMAO)
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To: Arrowhead1952

IT’S……

We’ve got music…….

We’ve got dancers……..

We’ve got amusement…….

We’ve got food……

And, we’ve got drink…..


6 posted on 04/01/2005 5:21:04 AM PST by beachn4fun (The U.S. Military are a special breed! Our Allies are a special breed! Thank You All.)
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To: Arrowhead1952
Welcome home Marines: Weapons Company and a detachment from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines.


TAPS

RIP Keepers of our freedom.

Three soldiers in Weapons Company, including Cpl. Joseph Fite, 23, of Round Rock were killed during the deployment.


7 posted on 04/01/2005 12:38:43 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska (~ www.ProudPatriots.org ~ next campaign is Operation 4th of July~)
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To: Kathy in Alaska
My nephew came home from Afghanistan yesterday, too.

He left a widow and two children under the age of 5.

All I can figure is that God must surely love us to have sent such men to be our guardians on this Earth.

8 posted on 04/01/2005 12:47:26 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

TAPS

RIP Capt Fiscus, Indiana Army National Guard


9 posted on 04/01/2005 1:15:28 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska (~ www.ProudPatriots.org ~ next campaign is Operation 4th of July~)
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