CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
More than 50 Marines saw their families for the first time after about three months Feb. 15.
The Marines and sailors with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, who were deployed to Iraq, arrived here where they were welcomed home by friends and loved ones.
The gathering, accompanied by food and entertainment for kids, was organized by Reyna Reyna, the family readiness officer for the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.
“I am excited about it and the returning Marines can expect it from now on,” said Reyna talking about the homecoming and the importance of the Family Readiness Program. “It took too long to come about, but I am glad it’s here.”
Reyna said that her job as the family readiness officer is “to act as a liaison between the command and the family, to answer questions and deal with situations so that the families are good to go and the Marines can focus on their jobs.”
One family that came together for the homecoming was that of Cpl. Sabe Ovando, a reconnaissance Marine with Company C, 1st Recon Battalion. His family originates from Guatemala and now resides in Downey, Calif.
His wife Megan Ovando, his mother Gloria Melendez, his grandmother Elaina Melendez, and his sisters Stephanie and Jennifer Olvarado were there to welcome him home with his daughter that was born during this deployment.
“His coming home means the world to us – you can’t understand or explain the feeling,” said Stephanie Olvarado, Cpl. Ovando’s sister.
This homecoming means relief for the families of those Marines, knowing that they are home.
“My stress will be so much less, I will have help around the house,” said Rochelle Cederholm, from Temecula, Calif. whose husband Gunnery Sgt. Cederholm arrived with Company C. “I have my best friend and companion home.”
The families were not the only ones relieved with the Marines safe return.
“Nothing beats family – we are a family when we are over there,” said Capt. Geoff V. Mero, the executive officer for Company C, a Seattle, native.
“Coming home is the best feeling in the world, knowing that you brought everyone home.”
The relief of the Marines arriving home safely is even better, since we were able to bring everyone home without casualties this deployment, said Gunnery Sgt. Glen Cederholm, who served as the platoon sergeant for Company C.
Some of the Marines had former and current military family members present at the homecoming.
“Being retired military and seeing your son come home, there is so much pride,” said Guy Snell, a proud father, retired 1st Class Bosons Mate and retired Navy diver from Poulsba, Wash.
“The Marines coming home is so much pride and happiness,” said Snell commenting on the homecoming. “All our prayers were answered now that they are home and our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones.”