A Group of Beaufort Marines Return Home After a Seven Month Deployment

They served our country for seven months in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq, now close to 40 marines with the Marine Air Control Squadron 2 -- Detachment "A" are back home in Beaufort with their families.

It was a homecoming, SSgt Matthew Tripepi will never forget. It's the first time he laid eyes on his baby son, Conner.

"He is beautiful," said SSgt Matthew Trippepi. "It's just great. I can't wait to get to hold him. It's definitely a relief. You think about them every day when you're gone...when you finally get a chance to see them. It's overwhelming. I was jumping out of my seat the whole time."

These families were so excited to see their marines, they got up in the middle of the night for the reunion. In fact Kristy John says getting her kids up was not a problem.

"No, not at all... they're excited Daddy is coming home," said John. "I almost didn't go to bed last night because I said why to go sleep... it's so exciting."

Reuniting is something-the John family has also been longing for.

"Unbelievable, this is the third time we've gone through this in the past three years so hopefully this is the last time we'll have to do it in the next three years," John.

You see, because these marines provide air traffic control capabilities for the air bases and the squadrons, they're in high demand and many of them are on a continuous rotation to Iraq. While being apart hasn't been easy for any of these families, these marines say they're proud of serving in Iraq and glad to be back home.

"My five beautiful children, my wife, that's what I've missed the most, Gunnery Sgt John Redimarker. "The price of freedom is worth it."

He says feeling the warmth of his family this morning makes it all worth it. "It makes what I do for a living that much more meaningful," said Redimarker.

Since the war in Iraq began, this unit has continuously deployed to Iraq.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com