Marines Return To Gulfport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/19/03

Marines Return To Gulfport

Fifty-six coast Marines are home safe and sound after four months of service in the Middle East. The reservists are from the 3rd platoon - 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, stationed in Gulfport. The troops logged more than 900 miles of travel time, transporting hundreds of infantryman from Kuwait to Baghdad.

Their plane arrived just after 6 am Thursday. Greeted by fellow comrades, the marines mustered up and did a quick weapons check before loading buses and heading back to the Seabee Base.

At the Seabee Base, hundreds of family and friends anxiously await the troops arrival.

"We're trying to hold back the tears till he gets here.I have no idea what it's going to feel like. I'm about to pop on the inside now so. I think I've told him that for all these months. I think once I see his face, I'm going to explode," Marine parents Brenda & Melvin Cutter said.

This is the Cutter's first experience as parents dealing with a deployment. Their son is a crew chief on one of the amphibious assault vehicles.

When the buses pulled up, Cutter was one of the first ones off the buses. Brenda had her arms wide open ready to greet him.

It seemed like all the moms and dads reacted liked the Cutters. In every direction you could see hugs and kisses, tears and laughs.

"There was a lot of anticipation on the way over here, but seeing everyone back here brought back a lot of good memories all my friends and family here. It's more than I could have expected," Sgt. Pete Raif of Long Beach said.

What was it like over there? "It got rough every now and then but it wasn't to bad," Lance Cprl Roger Jefcoat said.

Is it good to be back home in Mississippi? "It's great to be back home in Mississippi." What's the first thing you're going to go do? "Go swimming," Jefcoat said.

After months in the desert, swimming does sound pleasant.

Six Marines from the unit stayed behind in Kuwait. They will help to oversee the return of the unit's vehicles.

By Nathan Mihelich

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