Marines come home just in time for the holidays

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Thirty four Marines from the Gulfport Seabee base are very happy to be home. They returned to the base Tuesday night. The Marines are from the 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion. For the last 7 months, they have been in Iraq.

Their mission included conducting counter-insurgency operations and providing base security in the Al-Anbar province. A few years ago, many of these same Marines went to Iraq, but this time there was a big difference. Back then, two members of their platoon died, this time, they all came home safe and sound. Before they arrived a lot of anxious family and friends gathered at the Seabee base, including Donna Keating. "I am nervous," Keating told WLOX news. " I have prayed for the safe return of my son and the others, and now it is happening." When the bus pulled up, just before six p.m. There was a lot of cheers, applause and tears.

Among the 34 who got off the bus, was Donna Keating's son, Dennis Keating. "I did not expect this sort of turnout, it is tremendous, it is an honor to serve and I am just glad and thankful we all made it back home this time." Keating said. Keating had the largest contingent of family and friends, with nearly 20 people there to greet him. Incuding his fiancee, who he will marry next fall. It was the second time Dennis had gone to Iraq. This homecoming was just as sweet as the last. For Dennis Keating and the other brave Marines,  it was a night they will not soon forget.

By Jeff Lawson