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Marines in Southern California return home from Middle East deployment

Marine homecoming
Posted at 10:43 AM, Oct 04, 2021

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — It was an emotional homecoming Sunday for 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines who returned to Camp Pendleton after a harrowing six-month deployment in the Middle East.

Families wasted no time frantically looking for their Marines with posters and banners in hand, eager for a warm embrace.

For Bailey Gonzales, it's her fourth time welcoming her husband home from deployment.

She said she was anxious, but above all, grateful to reunite with her husband.

"I mean, this is like my fourth time... or his fourth time, so it’s like OK, we know how this goes but the dynamic of this one is completely different," Gonzales said.

Most of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines unit was deployed to Afghanistan in April to help with U.S. evacuations from the country taken over by Taliban rule.

Ten of 13 service members killed in the attack at the Kabul airport belonged to the unit and were a part of the Golf company.

Camp Pendleton officials said the 282 service members returning Sunday weren’t a part of the same company but were on site at the time.

"Him being on this deployment, in particular, was very nerve-racking for me as a young family, especially for the other families," Gonzales said.

The same goes for Marine veteran Allen Frazier, whose son followed in his footsteps.

"I’m just excited to see my son again," Frazier said. "I mean, deployments are hard, and these guys had a somewhat of a difficult deployment, so I’m just excited to see all of them."

Camp Pendleton officials said the remaining marines a part of the company attacked in Kabul returned home from Afghanistan in September.

Nia Watson at KGTV first reported this story.