MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
A dull rumble quickly progressed into a roar as three KC-130J Hercules flew in perfect unison over the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point flight line Saturday, a day family and friends on the ground had anticipated for seven months.
Returning home from Kandahar, Afghanistan, it was a day 50 Marines and Sailors from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 had anticipated as well.
“I couldn’t wait to tell him I love him,” said Alison Quebedeaux, spouse of Navy Lt. Luke Quebedeaux, a physiologist with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). “I’ve missed everything about him while he was gone. I missed watching him play with the kids, and I missed him coming home every night.”
The long awaited reunion came with a slow growing suspense while the Marines were taxied in the aircraft to the front of the hangar, where the frenzied, sign holding, flag waving crowd waited. Then the engines turned off, and Marines started to file out.
“I guess it’s been seven months but it feels longer,” said Joseph Stone, who greeted his spouse Sgt. Jackie Stone, an aircraft communications systems technician. “She’s missed all of his milestones,” he said of their 7-month-old son, Joseph. “I can’t wait for her to see how much he’s grown.”
It seemed like everybody felt they had lost time to make up.
“I have a lot of catching up to do,” said Luke Quebedeaux. “I’m just very happy, It feels awesome to be home.”
Maj. John Butler, the detachment commander with VMGR-252, 2nd MAW (Fwd.), said the Marines worked long hours during their deployment but never stopped giving 100 percent.
They conducted missions throughout the entire area of operation, which covered all of Afghanistan, Butler said. The missions the squadron executed were battlefield illuminations, aerial deliveries and in-flight refuels of various aircraft protecting the men on the ground.
“Our Morale was great while we were out there,” said Butler. “Technically the detachment has been deployed for a year. What we did was basically relieve our own unit half way through.”