3rd MLG marines celebrate before deployment
CAMP KINSER, Okinawa — It is never easy for service members to leave behind loved ones to execute a mission, but it is moments of celebration that eases the transition and boosts the morale of everyone involved.
Marines of Retrograde and Redeployment, in support of Reset and Reconstitution Operations Group, gathered at the Hai Sai Center on Camp Kinser Nov. 7 for a going-away barbecue.
“We just wanted to have something special for the junior Marines to show them that they’re appreciated for the hard work they’ve done to get to where we are right now,” said Sgt. Randy T. Crotzer, a warehouse clerk with the group.
The group is comprised of Marines from multiple major subordinate commands under III Marine Expeditionary Force, and is slated to leave for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan this month.
“Our mission is to bring back the Marine Corps’ equipment to help fill equipment deficiencies Marine Corps wide,” said Maj. Terence F. Moroney, the detachment officer in charge.
The group organizes, repairs and sends Marine Corps weapons, vehicles and other equipment back to the U.S. From there, the equipment will be distributed as needed to all MEF commands. The operation’s outcome will save the Marine Corps money. The deadline for all the gear in Afghanistan to be retrograded and redeployed is January 2015.
“You guys are going to go out there to find the gear we need and get it through the process of coming back here,” said Brig. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF. “I’m excited for each one of you.”
In preparation for the upcoming deployment, the group has been actively involved in a three-week pre-deployment training program consisting of rifle range, vehicle egress trainers, combat lifesaver procedures and other training events.
“We’ve also been doing our own (military occupational specialty) training to stay proficient in our job, but the PTP training prepares us for the theater of operations where we will be,” said Gunnery Sgt. Junior E. Diaz, a motor transportation chief with the group.
The Marines of Reset and Reconstitution Operations Group have also been preparing themselves for the stress of leaving behind their loved ones.
“My wife and I met while I was already in the Marine Corps in between deployments, so she understands when I have to go,” said Diaz. As the families temporarily separate, there is a feeling of loneliness for both the husband and wife, according to Crotzer.
“This will be the first time I’ll be deployed while we have kids, but we’re as ready for it as we can be,” said Crotzer. “My family has a good support system here.”
Though the group will miss their loved ones, they will remain focused to take care of the mission at hand.
“As long as we complete the retrograde out there, and come back together safe and sound, then that’s mission accomplished in my eyes,” said Crotzer. “I just want the Marines to come back to their loved ones.”