MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. --
More than 170 Marines with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Jan. 27, after a six-month deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Marines, who have been deployed since July 2009, were transported to the air station early this morning, where families and friends waited in the cold to greet their Marines.
The deployment was hard on families, explained Vanesa Jimenez, the wife of Lance Cpl. Aaron Jimenez who returned with HMH-462.
It was her husband’s first deployment and he had to leave his two children, Destiny, who is two years old, and Juan, who is four years old, at home.
The first thing Jimenez planned to tell her husband when he got off the plane was that she loved him.
“My heart was in half, but now the emptiness is gone,” said Jimenez. “We’re a whole family again.”
The Marines enjoyed seeing their homes from above as they flew in, explained Sgt. Reynaldo Diaz, an airframes mechanic with HMH-462, who has completed his third deployment.
“It feels great to be home,” said Diaz. “It’s awesome to be with my kids (Rose, who is 11 years old, Tahtiana, who is seven years old and Gabriela, who is three years old). They’re why we fight.”
Also in attendance was the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band who performed several songs for waiting families.
Although originally deployed to Iraq, the squadron transferred to Afghanistan in small groups toward the end of 2009.