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White Snakes return home from deployment

Marine Corps News


Story by Lance Cpl. Ben Slack

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marine Air Control Squadron 4, Bravo detachment returned home to Iwakuni Oct. 22 from a 6-month deployment in Uzbekistan.

After a long deployment and a lot of hard work, the Marines of MACS-4 returned to find family and friends awaiting their arrival. Military members and dependants arrived at the terminal an hour before the flight was scheduled to come in with anticipation of their loved ones arrival.

While deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Marines of MACS-4 set up runways, provided 24-hour air control service not only to allied forces, stood guard and built the area so that it could be utilized.

"When we arrived there was nothing but mud," said Lance Cpl. Ray Proust, MACS-4 Air Traffic Control communications technician. "We worked hard to help it develop. We pretty much got the area up and running."

The Marines were stationed on an Army base located in Uzbekistan near Afghanistan.

"The location was important because it was a gateway to the whole theater," said Proust. "It was also different being on an Army base compared to a Marine base."

The Marines of MACS-4 worked hand in hand with many different allied forces including the U.S. and Uzbek Air Force, U.S. Army and former Soviet Union soldiers.

"I really enjoyed talking with members of other services," said Cpl. Lars Mohr, air traffic control communications technician. "We all worked together and got a lot of things accomplished.

They also set up three major sites around the area to help service the needs of the aircrafts.

"We set up a tower, a radar site and an air traffic control site," said Mohr. "The tower was divided in half between the Uzbek forces and our forces."

After the six-month deployment, filled with anxiety of seeing their families once again the Marines left Uzbekistan on a long trip back to Iwakuni.

"The trip was long, loud and bumpy," said Mohr, "but it does feel good to be back."

In their arrival home, the Marines were met with the smiles, tears and laughter of their family members.

"We have been anticipating this day since they left," said Mary Ellen Biskup, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Brent Biskup, MACS-4 ATC Communications Chief. "We are so proud of them for everything that they are doing for us while they make their contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom."

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