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Lejeune battalion says goodbye, deploys to Regimental Combat Team 5

14 Jul 2006 | Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis

Marines and sailors with the “Betio Bastards” of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment here embraced their families one last time before deploying to Iraq.

The battalion is set for Habbaniyah, Iraq to relieve the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

“Saying goodbye is hard,” said Cpl. Kristopher L. Chard, a motor transport operator assigned to Headquarters and Service Company.

Deploying to Iraq wasn’t new to the 23-year-old from Marlette, Mich.  He endured the experience and the same feelings last year when he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said he appreciated his time at home, knowing the risks of war. 

“You’ve got to savor every last moment because you never know what could happen while you’re gone,” Chard said.

Families spent their remaining time together with plenty of kisses and a seemingly endless supply of hugs.

Nobody wanted to let go.

“My son knew that something was going on,” said Lance Cpl. Arvel Rose, a radio operation with Jump Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company.  “He didn’t want to let me out of his sight.

“I just told him, ‘Daddy’s going to work, he’ll be back,’” added the 21-year-old from Dayton, Nev.  “My wife’s taking it hard, I tell her ‘I’ll be fine. I got my buddies watching my back.’ My wife tells me she’s proud of me and it’s a good thing that I’m doing and she understands why I do it.”

Along with hugs and kisses came comforting words to ease the Marines’ departure.

Lance Cpl. Mike L. Deibert, assigned to Jump Platoon, also deployed last year. Goodbyes weren’t new for him and his wife, Melissa Deibert.

“She knows what’s going on this year,” said the 23-year-old from Allentown, Pa. “I told her what we would be doing, introduced her to the people I was working with and invited the platoon over to create a family atmosphere.”

Although prepared, Melissa couldn’t help but to feel the strain of spending another seven months without her husband.

“Emotionally, it still takes a toll because you can’t expect the unexpected,” she said. “You can just hope everybody comes home safe.”

Family members didn’t want to say goodbye, but they stood behind their loved ones.

“I support him in everything he does,” Melissa said. “I know when it is all over it will bring us closer.”

Cpl. Jarod C. Peer, a radio technician with Headquarters and Service Company, said leaving is not something he likes to do, but it’s something he knew he and his wife had to do.

The 24-year-old from Sarasota, Fla., vacationed with his wife to his hometown in Georgia to prepare for the inevitable.  Peer’s deployment sunk in as families waited for the busses.

“The hardest part is seeing that bus come around the corner,” Peer explained.  “That’s when you really know you only have a few minutes left.”

Tears trickled loosely as families embraced each other tightly.

When the time came, Peer boarded the bus and watched his wife from a window until he left.

Then his mindset changed.

“I thought, ‘It’s time to do my job again,” he said.  “Time to do what I joined to do.’”