108 men and woman stepped off the bus, and back into their normal lives this afternoon.
The Marines of South Bend based Company B returned at last, and everyone at the base today was elated to have them back in South Bend safe and sound.
Hugs, kisses and tears are all standard issue when a Marine returns from war.
The Marines of Company B said they did not expect the hero’s homecoming that awaited them.
Sgt. Jonathan Neuhaus said, “I wasn’t quite expecting the homecoming that we have out here, but it’s great, it shows how much support we actually have overseas, and we definitely appreciate this. It’s a closure to what we've had do deal with.”
And the homecoming was even sweeter for one corporal. He met and held his new born daughter for the first time at the reserve center.
Lance Corporal Matt Kovalenko said, “I made her and she’s so cute, she’s looking at you, I’m so happy, I’m so wow.”
After a nearly eight month deployment, Company B families were reunited. Some of the faces they left had changed, but the bonds were still the same.
Corporal Duane Reddick says “She’s definitely changed. Hairs darker, hairs longer lot taller, I just got to have my translator here to figure out what she’s talking about sometimes. Missed a year of her life, but it doesn’t seem to hard for her to get back to knowing me, so it’s just really good to be here.”
Their loved ones have been preparing for their return for over a month, but their all their planning couldn't have prepared them for today's homecoming.
Michelle Reddick added, “You live and dream of this moment everyday while there gone, so it almost seems surreal.”
But as the Marines and their families return to normal life, they say they will never forget the time they spent with their fellow marines at war.
The Marines are on active duty until May, which means they will report to base regularly.
But they do have the day off Sunday to spend with their friends and family.