Dozens of South Mississippi Marines said good-bye to their loved ones early Sunday Morning
The Marines are based at the Gulfport Seabee base and are part of the Fourth Marine Division.
The group of about 80 Marines are travelling to Camp LeJune, North Carolina, before heading off to Iraq.
But they didn't leave without spending some final moments with friends and family.
There was a lot of light-hearted conversation and picture-taking at Family Day, a special event held at the Gulfport Seabee Base Saturday afternoon.
Afterall, these are the moments members of the fourth Marine Division want to carry with them during their time in Iraq.
"Family is very important, just like with him. I'm going to miss so much being with him. He'll be almost two years old by the time I get back," said U.S. Marine Danny Wade.
This will mark the second time Danny Wade, and many members of this unit, have been deployed to Iraq.
Danny's wife believes life back at home will be a little easier, this second time around.
"I really know what to expect. I've been there, done that. I know how to better prepare myself. There are family, friends, and support here at the Marine Center. There's just a lot of support for us," said Danny's wife, Kim.
The Marines will leave the base at one o'clock Sunday morning, bound for two months of training at Camp LeJuene.
"Once we get to Camp LeJuene, we'll be doing our work up phase. During the work-up phase. During the work up phase, we'll be getting these Marines back up to speed. We'll be building upon the skills set they already have, as far as running the vehicles as far as the mechanized perspective," said U.S. Marine Capt. Justin Wilhelmsen.
These marines will put that training to the test as they head out to Iraq in March to help out with Operation Enduring Freedom.
But events like this also help strengthen the bonds between the people left behind, who also have an important mission to carry out, holding down the home front.
By: Toni Miles
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