CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Families welcomed home more than 100 Marines with 9th Communication Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force, during a homecoming at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 20.
The Marines returned from a deployment to Afghanistan just in time to celebrate the holidays with their families and loved ones.
“Just to know that he’s home safely is the number one thing,” said Rod Adams, 55, from Long Beach, Calif., and a family member of one of the returning Marines. “We heard they were probably going to be back in February, then they moved it up to today and it’s just very exciting. We’re very blessed.”
The families greeted their Marines with Christmas decorations and welcome home signs.
“It’s one thing to be excited about getting them all home, but it couldn’t be more exciting to get them home right before the holidays,” said Lt. Col. Ahmed Williamson, the commanding officer of 9th Comm. Bn. “There’s probably no better gift the to give a family back their Marine right before the holidays.”
The Marines are returning after a seven-month deployment supporting I MEF units in Afghanistan.
“We connect the entire tactical network forward so Marine forces can shoot, move and communicate,” said Williamson, 40, from Upper Marlborough, Md. “They come back home as heroes because they successfully accomplished their mission and did their part.”
The homecoming marks the first time the entire battalion has been home since Marines started deploying from the unit 15 months ago.
“We finally have our family back,” Williamson said. “We’ll finally have our whole battalion home.”