Southern California

Tearful Families Welcome Marines Home

Most of the returning Marines have been deployed multiple times, but now their work in Afghanistan is finally over

It's been a historic week for the US Marine Corps. The last few hundred Marines and sailors have been coming home to Southern California after their final tour in Afghanistan, bringing tears and smiles to families' faces.

About 75 Marines arrived at Camp Pendleton on Thursday after turning over power last week to the new Afghan military.

"(My children) grew quite a bit since I was gone," one Marine said. "They were significantly shorter! I'm very excited, very happy to be home."

Most of the returning Marines have been deployed multiple times, but now their work in Afghanistan is finally over.

"It's definitely a surreal feeling," another Marine said. "Kind of bittersweet moment."

Gen. Daniel Yoo of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade commanded US forces in the southwest Helmand province and is hopeful that Afghanistan won't end up in chaos like Iraq.

"I am very optimistic based on this particular tour," Yoo said. "I've seen a lot of changes and I think they are positive. There are some issues and challenges that people talk about, the corruption is still a problem."

Since they first entered Afghanistan in 2001... More than 2,300 US service members didn't make it home to hug their families.

"I'm happy to have him," one Marine's daughter Rachel said. "(He's) here with me."
 

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