Local Marines return from Iraq

By Lesley Hughes
star staff
lhughes@starhq.com

  JOHNSON CITY -- The Marines of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment were scheduled to arrive in the United States on Oct. 2 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Lima Company has served a seven-month combat deployment in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
  The company was part of the First Marine Expeditionary Force while deployed.
  According to a press release from the Marine Corps, "The company will remain in Camp Pendleton for a number of weeks while they start their transition back to Reserve status; they will be returning to the Tri-Cities (the Armed Forces Reserve Training Center in Gray, TN) after that."
  The Marines left Camp Pendleton on Jan. 14 before heading to Iraq. Before they departed Major Pete Gill detailed their mission, "The last time Lima Company was deployed was during Operation Desert Storm. The Marine Reserves have the exact same mission as the Marine Active Duty. It is the same make up, same table organizations, same equipment, same mission. There is no difference.
  "They are a Marine Infantry Company. They are trained to locate and close with and destroy the enemy by fire maneuver or repel the enemy's attack by fire in close contact. They are a line grunt infantry."
  During their deployment, Sgt. Jeremy A. Williamson and Lance Corporal Nathan L. Morrow were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated during a convoy security operation in the vicinity of Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The soldiers were immediately treated by military medical personnel. Sgt. Williamson returned to full duty with his unit. Lance Corporal Morrow was sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for care. Morrow has since returned to Camp Pendleton to recover from his injuries.