SAN DIEGO – After a seven month deployment to Afghanistan, wives, children and friends patiently waited Monday for their loved ones to return to San Diego.
Two hundred Marines from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing walked down the plane to their families in an emotional homecoming.
This is also the first time 10-month-old Tai attempted to walk to his father, Marine Corporal Antwan Wilson.
Marine Sgt. Steven Engle held his baby girl for the first time.
“She’s so beautiful,” said Sgt. Engle.
Marine Corporal Elizabeth Chinavare came back to her husband and daughter.
“I was the only mom in my unit, glad it’s over,” Chinavare said.
Marine Corps officials said Monday’s homecoming will be one of the largest in the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan. Pentagon officials hope to turn security operations over to Afghan forces by 2014.
“They’ve been supporting troops on the ground,” said 1st Lt. Ty Balzer. “I think the biggest thing for people to realize is that 11 years later we’re still carrying out this mission and we’re doing a great job.”