CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) – Troops from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the shores of Camp Lejeune Wednesday. This marks the conclusion of a seven-month deployment of the 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation.
Excitement was high as these troops returned home for the first time since February of this year. They began coming back officially a few weeks ago.
“The Marines and sailors that have arrived today, it’s been a long-anticipated time a long deployment,” said Capt. Kelton J. Cochran with the United States Marine Corps.
Wednesday, they had a ship to shore offload at Onslow Beach. This is where equipment and personnel came back from deployment on Landing Air Craft Cushions.
“Just from the personal equipment to everything that we’re required to use operationally, it’s a very massive logistical feat. So it’s, you know, it’s awesome to see you never get old for me,” Cochran said.
Officials say there are a lot of moving parts in an operation like this. They say it can take a few hours or all day depending on the weather.
The Marines and sailors returned on those landing aircraft cushions and by aircraft on another part of the base. That’s where they got to reunite with their loved ones.
“Servicemembers are anxious to see their loved ones, and they see their family and friends. It’s an amazing experience,” said Cochran.
1stLt Mark Andries just returned home from deployment a week ago. He described how the servicemembers are going to feel now that they’re back.
“I’m sure the Marines today that are arriving are just so happy to be here. So happy to see their families so happy to be back up back here at Camp Lejeune,” said Andries.
About 592 24th MEU personnel returned home in today’s offload.