CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Friends and family gathered to greet Marines from Georgian Liaison Team 8 with Advisor Training Cell and Supporting Arms Liaison Team 8 with 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, at a homecoming celebration aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 18.
Despite being located in two separate locations during the deployment, the two teams worked closely together while in Afghanistan.
“For the past seven months, that GLT and ANGLICO team has been one team one fight,” said Lt. Col. Brian Russell, commanding officer of 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company.
All the Marines coming home assisted the Georgian Armed Forces while in Helmand province. Both teams worked as one to facilitate the Georgians in fire support and a variety of other areas.
“It’s a tough mission just working with a different culture and the different style of operations that the Georgians bring,” Russell said. “It was a pretty kinetic environment that they were in over there. Some of the Marines coming home today got hit in a couple vehicle-born improvised explosive device attacks.”
Although many of the Marines were deployed for five months, some were deployed upwards of a year. 1st Lt. Charlie Cordova trained with the Georgians for five months before his 10-month deployment. He only spent two weeks at home between training abroad with the Georgians and his stay in Afghanistan. During his brief time at home, he married his long-time girlfriend, Marissa.
“This has taught me patience, unconditional love, and what family means,” she said. “He’s my best friend in the whole world and I can’t wait to welcome him home and spend the rest of my life with him.”
The Cordova’s had their wedding ceremony early after Marissa’s grandmother became ill. Luckily, Marissa’s grandmother had the opportunity to witness the marriage before Cordova deployed. However, the new couple only spent six days together as newlyweds.
The challenge of a spouse being away for an extended time is one struggle, while the emotion of having a son or daughter far away is a completely different one.
Reed and Carol Petersen, parents of Lance Cpl. Matthew Petersen, a data network specialist with 1st Combat Logistics Regiment 17, drove 2,000 miles from Brandon, S.D. to see their son.
“We know he’s seen a lot of combat, and there had been some very close calls but they all bond together, they’re Marines,” Reed Petersen said. “They do what they do best, and they all come home and we get to celebrate them being back.
After a few more hours of anticipation, on top of months of waiting, the buses finally pulled in and made the unbelievable moment a reality for everyone welcoming a Marine home.