News: Operation Homecoming reunites Marines, Sailors with families
Story by Pfc. Victor A. Arriaga
CHERRY POINT, N.C. - More than 70 Marines and one Sailor with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 returned to Cherry Point after a seven-month deployment to southwestern Afghanistan Monday.
While deployed, the squadron provided assault support, aerial refueling and transport of cargo and personnel in support of NATO International Security Assistance Forces overseas contingency operations.
“The mission of VMGR-252 was successful,” said Maj. Mark Montgomery, the aircraft maintenance officer for the squadron. “The Marines succeeded, worked hard and kept their readiness up. I think everybody got what they needed.”
Family members filled the squadron’s hangar and patiently watched the sky for the planes that would be carrying their loved ones.
“I’m so excited I think I am going to throw up,” said Krysten Pryor, who traveled from Kentucky with her daughter and in-laws to greet her husband, Cpl. Jason Pryor, a powerline mechanic with VMGR-252. “I’m jittery and I can’t even think straight.”
When the planes landed, service members were greeted by ecstatic loved ones who raced out to the flight line to meet them.
“I’m glad to see my family again because this is one of many deployments for us,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Cook, the ordnance chief for VMGR-252. “When my daughter ran up to me yelling ‘daddy,’ I welled up with pride.”
For one mother, seeing her daughter return from her deployment was too much to handle.
“My baby girl came home,” said Hilda Turman, fighting back tears,. “As soon as I saw the plane, it was overwhelming. You can’t even describe the feeling you get when you know your kids are home safe.”
Turman’s daughter, Petty Officer Third Class Jocelyn Schrecker, a hospital corpsman with the squadron, was on her first deployment and was the only Sailor to deploy with VMGR-252.
“It’s amazing,” said Schrecker. “It’s always going to be an emotional reunion with my mom.”