By Sean Barron
Marine reservists return from Mideast
A family reunion of sorts awaited one reservist.
VIENNA — Katelyn Minor’s most recent phone conversation with her uncle, Cpl. Don Rogers, consisted in part of his checking up on her for fun.
“He asked if I’m being good and staying out of trouble,” the 14-year-old Kinsman girl said with a smile, adding that it’s been about 10 months since the two last saw each other.
That dry spell came to an end Saturday, when Katelyn’s uncle arrived at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station to a warm and emotional welcome. Rogers was one of 20 Marine reservists who took the 13-hour bus ride from Camp Lejeune, N.C., after a seven-month deployment to the Middle East.
The Minor family was part of a group of about 120 people who came to the air base as part of an informal celebration to welcome the unit home.
The reservists, assigned to the Landing Support Equipment Company 4th Landing Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, provided engineer equipment and logistical support within al-Anbar province in Iraq.
Now, Rogers and his wife, Angela, plan to go on vacation and look for a new home, said Roxann Minor, Katelyn’s mother and Rogers’ sister-in-law. Some goals for Rogers, who’s been in the service five years and spent six months in Iraq, include continuing his education and possibly pursuing a political career, she continued.
Also waiting for Rogers were Minor’s other daughters, Alexis, 3, and Hadassah, 10 weeks, as well as sons Niles, 6, and Dominic, 8.
Eagerly awaiting gunnery Sgt. Charles Norris was his wife, Dian, of Hermitage, Pa., who came with their 4-year-old son, Emilio, and daughters Liliana, 5, and 11-year-old Sierra. For the past three years, Norris’ being deployed and returning has been a pattern, Dian Norris said.
“We plan to go home and relax,” she said of their first day together in awhile. “He’ll be getting used to the kids and getting back to normal, if there is a normal.”
For her part, Sierra said she was looking forward to catching up on lost time with her father. The two remained in touch via e-mails and phone calls, she said.
“I just can’t wait to see him,” added Sierra, who helped design two signs welcoming him home.
Excitement wasn’t as palpable on the faces of Will and Marge Adams of Twinsburg, who waited for their son, Lance Cpl. Tom Adams. That feeling was set aside for the moment they would see their son for the first time in months, Marge Adams said.
The younger Adams has been in the Marines three years, with three more years of reserve duty to go. Tom Adams’ plans include finding his own place to live and likely returning to his job as a heavy equipment operator, his father said.
Tom Adam’s first day home was to have been spent with more than just his parents, though.
“We plan to go home where the whole family will meet, sit around and talk, and let him tell stories,” said Will Adams, adding that aunts, uncles, grandparents and other family members plan to be on hand.
Finally, the bus arrived about 2:40 p.m. to the sight and cheers of numerous loved ones. Tears, hugs, kisses and picture-taking were plentiful as the men disembarked.
One of the Marines flanked by family was Lance Cpl. Nick Marchese of Niles, whose duties included bringing supplies to large bases to be distributed to ground units, those on the front lines, and other nearby bases. His immediate plans were to “go and relax, and have dinner with my family,” he said.
Marchese praised his fellow reservists for their work and camaraderie, as well as looking out for one another and the close relationship they maintain.
“This is a great group, very tight,” he said. “They are my brothers here; these guys mean a lot to me.”