Marines leave Vienna for deployment in Iraq

VIENNA — Lance Cpl. Robert Eggleston will be a world away from Youngstown once he gets to Iraq, but he plans to remain in touch with fourth-graders at Summit Academy, where he is a teaching assistant.

“My students were sad to see me go, but they’re proud of me,” said the 20-year-old from Struthers, who also is a member of Coitsville Fire Department. “We plan to correspond through e-mails and cards.”

Eggleston, one of 30 Marine Corps reservists assigned to the Landing Support Equipment Co. at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, left Sunday night from the station to travel by bus to Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The Marines said their goodbyes to family and friends during a sendoff filled with many hugs, handshakes and hearts on sleeves.

Once at Camp Lejeune, the reservists will spend about eight weeks in further training before being deployed to Iraq for a seven-month tour. The Landing Support Equipment Co., a part of the 4th Landing Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, will be attached to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force in support of its security mission. The company’s mission is to provide material and container handling equipment and organizational maintenance support.

Most of the reservists in this group live within a 60-mile radius of the air base and the majority are from the Cleveland area, said Chief Warrant Officer Jay Jorgensen. They train at the base once a month.

“I’m nervous but excited about going,” said Eggleston, a 2005 graduate of Struthers High School who has served for 2 1/2 years.

Eggleston’s father, Steve, who was on hand to see his son off, served in the Marine Corps in the early 1980s. “It was his choice to join. We talked about what his choice meant long-term, and he made the decision,” the elder Eggleston said. “I bought him a laptop for Christmas so we could e-mail.”

“The Marine Corps has been good to him and he owes it to them,” Eggleston’s father said of his son’s service.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on

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