MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
A detachment of more than 30 Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 returned to Cherry Point Saturday from a seven-month deployment with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The detachment deployed with the Camp Lejeune-based MEU to provide aerial refueling and troop and cargo transport capabilities while operating primarily in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
The detachment deployed with two KC-130J Hercules aircraft and completed more than 950 flight hours.
“We moved constantly,” said Maj. James Poppy, the detachment officer in charge. “The Marines were outstanding during the deployment. It’s good to be back, and the Marine deserve to be back.”
The deployment was split into one three-month deployment from April to July and one four-month deployment from August to December.
“I am happy to be back after all the hard work the Marines did,” said Capt. James R. Friedlein, a KC-130J Hercules pilot with the squadron. “I just want to relax and spend time with my family.”
Friedlein’s wife and children were happy to have him return from his third deployment. As he stepped of the aircraft, his young son, wearing a miniature flight suit that matched his dad’s, ran and jumped in Friedlein’s arms.
“I am beyond excited to have him back,” said Friedlein’s wife. “The hardest part is having him away from his children. I’m just so happy that he is home.”
Lt. Col. W. John Butler, commanding officer of VMGR-252, said his Marines couldn’t have returned at a better time.
“I am happy to see every Marine home for Christmas,” said Butler. “The Marines have done phenomenal all year, and they deserve to spend the holidays with their families.”