U.S. Marines Return to Lubbock from War in Iraq - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/12/03

U.S. Marines Return to Lubbock from War in Iraq

It was an emotional day, many of these local heroes thought would never come. More than 50 Marines who are part of the Sixth Motor Transport Battalion here in Lubbock laid eyes on their loved ones for the very first time in six months. And one of these marines got much more than just a hug.

It was an afternoon filled with hugs and kisses, handshakes, and tears. After six months, Lubbock's newest heroes are finally home. Clay Gunter hugs his wife Hendi for the first time after being gone for half a year.

"Undescribable, it's amazing. It's hard to believe. It's like a dream," says Hendi.

"It's been a rollercoaster. I'm just glad to be home," says Cpl. Clay Gunter.

Clay and his fellow Marines answered the call to duty hoping each day they would be reunited with their loved ones.

"For a minute there, I didn't think we were coming home," says Gunter. But all doubts were put aside after what they say, seemed like an eternity.

"Some days, I didn't think it was six months. I thought it was years, long days, short nights. But I'm finally home," says Lance Cpl. Juan Lucero.

"It's overwhelming. We've been waiting for this for so long, and it finally came. No, I didn't. I'm in shock, I really am," says Lance Cpl. Matthew Alvarez.

"It's been a long six months without him here. We just never thought this day would come," says Matthew's sister, Amanda.

And one Marine, Corporal Jeffrey Ross, will never forget the day he returned home from war. That's because Saturday is also his wedding day. Jeffrey and his bride-to-be laid eyes on each other for the first time in six months on Saturday at the altar. And after being home for just a few hours, Jeffrey and Betsy were wed.

"It's so good to have him home safe and wonderful," says Betsy.

"Words can't express it. It's amazing to be back home. Six months is a long six months, but it's an amazing feeling," says Jeffrey.

Jeffrey and Betsy will be honeymooning in the Cayman Islands as soon as he is released from active duty. And as for the other Marines, well not all of them are home yet. Dozens more remain overseas, but they will be coming home in the following months.

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