Emotional Farewell as Hundreds Redeploy to Iraq - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/04/06

Emotional Farewell as Hundreds Redeploy to Iraq

This morning they gathered with their families at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort for the very emotional farewell. This morning they gathered with their families at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort for the very emotional farewell.

Hundreds of Marines and sailors from the Low Country are headed back to Iraq. This morning they gathered with their families at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort for the very emotional farewell.

The Quinonez family is capturing every last minute they have together. Sgt. Louis Quinonez is headed to Camp Al Asad, Iraq.

"This is what I signed up for, ready to go, ready to get back, get it over with," he said.

The 400 Marines and sailors with the Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, also known as the "Sweat Hogs," will be deployed for next seven months. Their gear is packed and the only thing left to do is share a few laughs and say goodbye.

Sgt. Conroy Cadore, his wife Latoya and their two kids have been through this before. "Bittersweet, bittersweet," Latoya said. "I'm sad he has to go, but I know he has a job to do."

This is Lance Cpl. Aaron Young's first deployment. "I got my mom, dad, two sisters, my niece, my nephew, my girlfriend, friends of the family," he said. They were there to support the young Marine and support each other.

Many of these families have been through this before, but that doesn't make this deployment any easier. Fathers held their babies one last time, other Marines hugged and promised wives that they'll be home soon. There were prayers that everyone makes it home safely.

This is only the second time this entire unit has deployed to Iraq. The last time was in 2004 when, they supported Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We aren't going to be doing a whole lot with the Iraqi people," Lt. Colonel Jeff Hooks said. "We are an internal support organization, so we'll be inside one of the big air bases providing support so the guys who do have the effect on the Iraqi people will have success in doing that. I think we are going in the right direction."

At 8:30am it was time for these troops to get going. The families are already awaiting their return next spring.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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