MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Yuma, Ariz. -- Friends, family and fellow Marines welcomed home the nearly 80 warriors from Marine Attack Squadron 214 who returned from a six-month deployment with the 11th Marine
Expeditionary Unit on Aug. 15 outside the VMA-214 hangar.
A hangar full of smiling friends and family members sprang to their feet after Lt. Col. Sean C. Blochberger, squadron commanding officer, dismissed his Marines for liberty.
“I’m so excited that Jacob is back,” said Tracey Boback, wife of Cpl. Jacob Boback.“This was his third deployment, so I’d like to say I’m getting better at it. I’m just glad he’s home now and is able to see his new son.”
Boback got to see his 4 month old son Gavin, who was born while he was deployed.
Family members and friends had arrived hours earlier, so everyone was waiting nervous and anxious, said Shelley Ticen, wife of Cpl. Christopher Ticen.
“I’m just glad to be home,” said Ticen, VMA-214 powerline technician.
The six VMA-214 pilots that returned to station flying their AV-8B Harriers on Aug. 14 were also there to welcome home their Marines.
Marines from all the shops of VMA-214 were deployed with the 11th MEU, said Blochberger.
“Our Marines were a representation of all the shops you would find in our squadron, but on a lower scale. Just about every skill or expertise you find in a squadron, you would find on a boat detachment,” said Blochberger.
VMA-214 and all other squadrons under MAG-13 support the 11th, 13th, and 15th MEUs.
They also support the 31st MEU, which is located in Japan.
The Squadrons rotate deployments throughout each MEU, said Sgt. Maj. Derrick Christovale.
The Marines went on a standard Western Pacific deployment during the ship’s primary sail. From there, Marines then went to the North Arabian Gulf to do combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Marines provided basic and close air support, reconnaissance and convoy escorts to the Marines on the ground.
The Marines’ deployment was routine. They were able to meet or exceed all assigned tasks and return home safety, said Blochberger.
“There’s not much more that I could ask for. To go out and participate in combat operations and accomplish the mission while bringing all our Marines and aircraft back, really speaks volumes about the men and women of our squadron,” said Blochberger.
“It’s great to have the Marines back. They’re a sight for sore eyes. I actually missed them while they were gone. As a squadron, we missed them not only for their camaraderie, but also for their expertise and the skills and knowledge they bring. We are extremely happy to have them back. And very proud of the job they did,” said Blochberger.
The Marines were able to help show what AV-8B Harriers can do and what the Blacksheep can do. Most of the Marines will take about 15 days of post-deployment
“When the Marines return it will once again be time to get back to what every squadron does, and that’s keeping our aircraft flying and getting ready for the next deployment,”
Marine Attack Squadron 214 is scheduled to deploy again next year.