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3rd Radio Battalion says good bye, again

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 3/2/2004

Story by Pfc. Bernadette Ainsworth

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii(March 1, 2004) -- Having loaded their gear and prepared for another deployment to Iraq, 3rd Radio Battalion has said goodbye to family and friends, for the third time in two years.

Approximately 150 Marines gathered Monday in the Marine Corps Exchange Annex parking lot and said goodbye to their families, whether it be in person or with a last minute phone call home.

Their deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom II will last approximately six to eight months.

For about 50 of these Marines, to include the battalion commanding officer, Lt. Col. Mark Aycock, this deployment is their third with 3rd RadBn, which was formerly known as 1st Radio Battalion.

Not all the Marines are returning to Iraq, some are first timers for a deployment with mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension.

"This is my first big deployment," said Cpl. Laurie M. Johnson, a signals intelligence operator, whose husband is deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable.

"He is very supportive, because he knows this is what I want to do," said Johnson. "I want to get the bad guys."

Johnson is one of about six females deploying with 3rd RadBn.

"I don't think there should be too many problems. I think sometimes females can do a better job because we keep a cool head about things," Johnson added.

Lance Cpl. Aaron A. Kohl, signals intelligence operator, is leaving a girlfriend behind.

"My girlfriend and parents are supportive," said Kohl, a Worcester, Mass., native. "My mom is a little nervous, but she knows this is something I want to do."

Lt. Gen. Wallace C. Gregson, the U. S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific commander, made an appearance to wish the Marines farewell.

"Your deployment today is at least as important as what we fought in World War II or the Cold War," said Gregson.

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