Around 150 Marines and Sailors, who’ve spent seven months in Iraq, will return to their home base in Iowa this weekend. Roughly 80 of the Marines and Sailors of Company E, 2nd Battalion are from the state of Iowa. Another 30 are from Nebraska, while others are from surrounding states like Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Lieutenant Colonel Philip Farr says about half of the Marines also spent time in Iraq between 2004 and 2005.
"Those that have been gone twice are obviously going to be very happy to get back home," Farr said. During this deployment, the Marines were sent to Al Anbar province.
"They did a lot of active patrolling, security missions and training of Iraqi police forces," Farr said. For the Marines that completed two deployments to Iraq, this mission offered a much different experience than the trip in 2004.
"They were extremely different," Farr says, "obviously the nature of things has changed quite a bit over there. They did a lot more training in security operations this time than they did the first time." Family and friends of the Marine Reserve Company will gather at Fort Des Moines for a "welcome home" ceremony Saturday evening. The Marines and Sailors are expected to arrive at the Des Moines Airport at 9:30 p.m. Farr says supporters are encouraged to line Army Post Road from the airport to Fort Des Moines.