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2nd Intel returns to Lejeune

4/9/2008 By Lance Cpl. Meg Varvil , II MEF

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Dark storm clouds didn’t discourage the crowd of family and friends gathered here to welcome home Marines and sailors of 2nd Intelligence Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, April 4.


“We’d be here rain, shine or snow,” the wife of a returning Marine said. “I don’t think the Marines will be worried about our frizzy hair.”

Second Intel. Bn. Marines and sailors were deployed to Iraq for more than six months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“When they’re gone, some days are trying,” said the mother of Sgt. Ryan Blosser, an analyst with the battalion. “But we were able to communicate with our son a lot, and that makes it more bearable.”

The battalion’s mission was to provide intelligence and counter-intelligence in support of Multi-National Force - West, said Lt. Col. Andrew Gillan, the battalion’s commanding officer.

“Every morning, leaders at every level read our intelligence reports,” Gillan said. “That means every Marine in this battalion made an impact and helped shape decisions.”

The battalion’s efforts in Iraq paid off, but not quickly.

“The most frustrating thing about Iraq is the pace of change,” Gillan said. “There is definitely tremendous progress, but it is very slow.”

Nevertheless, the battalion experienced enormous success during the deployment.

“These men and women did some awesome things in Iraq,” said Sgt. Maj. Hesham Harris, the battalion’s sergeant major. “I don’t even know how to put it in words. They did a remarkable job.”

Friends and family members were also proud of their Marines’ and sailors’ accomplishments.

“He’s done so well (in Iraq),” Blosser’s mother said. “I’ve told him from day one that he is my hero.”

The battalion will take some well-deserved leave and begin to train for yet another deployment.

“Many of these Marines know they’re going right back, but they still step it up to a new level and come back each day with more intensity,” Gillan said. “That is very humbling for me. I’m extremely proud of them.”

For now, the Marines and sailors are looking forward to spending some quality time relaxing with loved ones.

“I’m just ready to lay a big kiss on my wife and spend time with the family,” Gillan said.