News: ‘First Team’ Returns 1/7 comes home from Afghanistan deployment
Story by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu
TWNETYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Hundreds of friends and families of 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, flocked to Del Valle Field Sunday, to welcome their Marines and sailors back home from Afghanistan.
More than 200 members of 1/7 returned home from their 7-month deployment to Sangin, Afghanistan.
“Our mission over in Sangin was to bolster the Afghan National Security Forces,” said Maj. Jonathan Holder, executive officer, 1/7. “We were there to help train and advise those guys.”
The majority of the returning party was from Company B of 1/7. The remaining members were from Co. A, Co. D and H&S Company.
“This is my fourth time coming home from combat,” Holder said. “It doesn't get old. It's great to be back and be in a normal environment.”
Families lined the parking lot of Del Valle Field, awaiting the return of their loved ones. Jacqueline Franco awaited the return of her son, Anthony Quintenilla.
“We talked through Facebook while he was deployed,” Franco said. “I would get up at one or two o'clock in the morning just to hear from him and to make sure he's OK. As a mother it’s hard, because you know your son is out there and in harm's way. I'm super excited to see him come home and to know he's OK.”
Even Marines that didn’t have family waiting for them, had their fellow Marines waiting.
“This is really par for the course for the battalion,” Holder said. “We preach family, not just for the Marines, but for husbands, wives and other family members too.”
As the Marines marched in from the armory, where they turned in their weapons, to meet their loved ones, They were met by thunderous cheers and warm welcomes. They were embraced by wives, families and close friends and welcomed back to their normal lives.