Marine reservists leave their families to train in supporting front-line troops
The Marine Reservists will be in Iraq about seven months.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
VIENNA -- Lance Corporal Kyle Harnett cradled his 41/2-month-old daughter in his arms minutes before departing for Camp Lejeune, N.C., and eventually heading to Iraq.
"I could hold her all day," said Harnett, 24, of Kinsman, one of 23 Marine Corps reservists from the Landing Support Equipment Co. who left from the Youngstown Air Reserve Station on Thursday night for pre-deployment training in North Carolina.
After about two months there, they'll head to Iraq.
"It will be OK," Harnett said of leaving his baby girl, Kaylin. "She's so young. When I come back, she won't even know that I was gone."
The Marine reservists will be in Iraq for about seven months. They're part of Landing Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, and their members come from all over the country.
The nearly-100-member reservist company provides support to the infantry. They're heavy equipment operators, said 1st Sgt. Frank Debonis of Cortland, an active-duty Marine at the base.
On a prior deployment, company members built the camps that housed fellow service people.
Without the support of the Landing Support Battalion, the front-line Marines couldn't get their jobs done, Debonis said.
Harnett's wife, Jennifer, acknowledges some apprehension about her husband's going to the Middle East.
"You get nervous, but we're in a good frame of mind," she said.
Harnett's parents, Steve and Denise, also of Kinsman, worry about their son's first deployment, but it's not entirely new territory for them either.
"We already have one son in Iraq in the Marines," Steve Harnett said.
Nathan is in helicopter maintenance, in Iraq since January. Their oldest son, Michael, is in the Air Force, stationed in Germany, but previously served in Afghanistan.
"But it's a little different when he's leaving a wife and my granddaughter," Denise Harnett said.
Their other two sons are single.
The oldest Harnett son started the military legacy, and his two younger brothers followed suit. A fourth son, Brad, is a senior at Brookfield High School and plans to be a teacher.
"We just raised them right," the proud mother said.
Doing his duty
Lance Corporal Donald Rogers, 30, also of Kinsman and another Marine reservist, says he's ready to use the skills he was trained in to help his country.
He'll miss his family and friends while he's away but sees it as his duty.
"There are bigger things going on in the world than myself and my family," Rogers said.
His wife, Angela, plans to rely on the support of family, friends, church and other Marine family members during the time her husband is away.
"This is the first time that he'll be going for this long," she said.
She's going back to school and believes that will help the time pass too.
"At least I'll be busy," Angela Rogers said.
The couple's fourth wedding anniversary is in September.
Rogers stole another hug and kiss from his wife before lining up in formation with his fellow Marines. One little girl clung crying to her father's legs before one last hug.
They prayed together, belted out "The Marines Hymn" and bellowed a hardy "OohRah" before boarding the charter bus that would take them to Camp Lejeune.
Their friends and family clapped and cheered, waving small American flags as the bus departed.