MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Families and friends pack into the common area of the Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 barracks aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to keep warm. Six months of waiting has come down to weeks, then to days, and now just a few short hours before they are reunited with their Marines.
“We finally get to have our Christmas,” said Casey Krebbeks, wife of Sgt. Joe Krebbeks an automotive organizational mechanic with MWCS-28. “I am very excited and very anxious and just ready for him to be home. The hardest part of him being gone is taking care of a 4-year-old by myself. So now it’s his turn, and mommy gets to sleep in.”
The Marines deployed for six months to Southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where they carried out communications support for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. They returned to their waiting family members, Dec. 28.
“Them coming home is outstanding,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Puntney. “These Marines have spent the last couple months in Afghanistan and performed far past the spectrum of their military occupational specialty. A lot of their training out there was on-the-job, so without exception, these Marines rose above and beyond for the occasion.”
For some of the service members returning, a new family member was there waiting to greet them. Staff Sgt. Mark Mattson, a radio chief with MWCS-28, was able to hold for the first time his 3-week-old daughter and first child, Lydia.
“I am just happy,” said Mattson. “I am speechless right now. I was lucky enough to see the birth on Skype but being here and holding her … It’s hard for me to put into words how I feel. This was much anticipated, and all I can say is my wife is beautiful, my baby is beautiful and this has put into light what is truly important to me.”