Marine Corps Air Station Yuma’s hangar 220 doors rattled as shouts and cheers from families and friends welcomed home their beloved Marines and Sailors from a six-month Afghanistan deployment, August 22.
The final wave of Marine Air Control Squadron 1 members returned home to the open arms of loved ones and fellow Marines.
“My daughter wasn’t nervous at first to see her husband finally come home, but as the time got closer we were getting more and more anxious,” said Yvon Spencer. “He is my son-in-law, but I can honestly say he is like my actual son. He was so good to us while he was away. We were all just so excited to see him.”
Several family members were unable to personally welcome home their Marines, but with the help of Marine Corps Community Services, who broadcasted the homecoming via a live webcast, they shared this momentous occasion.
During deployment, MACS-1 was attached to I Marine Expeditionary Forces while serving in Regional Command Southwest. Their support included providing air traffic control to all joint coalition air assets to maintain proper support for ground forces.
“I’m happy to be home,” said 2nd Lt. Matthew Curry, a MACS-1 air defense control officer. “I’m really proud of my Marines and hope they enjoy their time home. They really worked hard out there.”
More than 70 Marines and Sailors went above and beyond the call of duty, including radar Marines who achieved a significant feat.
“For the first time out in country we passed a flight check with our radar system without a waiver,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Williams, a MACS-1 radar watch supervisor and native of Kinston, N.C. “It was a great accomplishment. The Marines did an excellent job. We accomplished what we came there to do, and I think it was a success.”
The Yuma Marines supported numerous units and agencies while in Afghanistan, including international and U.S. military operations, drug enforcement agencies, the CIA, U.S. Special Operations Command and several other small facets.
“We did our job out there,” said Cpl. Daniel Tovar, a MACS-1 air traffic controller and native of Corpus Christi, Texas. “It was a great experience, and now I’m happy to be back home.”
After the excitement slowly came to a conclusion, the Marines gratefully made their way home to spend the quality time with family they very much deserved.