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SoCal families welcome home 170 Marines

October 6, 2008 |  5:05 pm

Hello, Austin, I'm your daddy

They wrote letters, made videos and shared e-mails, but for families of 170 Marines from the 1st Intelligence Battalion who returned home from Iraq yesterday, nothing compared to seeing their spouses, parents and siblings come home again. Our own Tony Perry was there, and tells what the day was like:

While other children nearby were playing and laughing, 4-year-old Jaden Williams was quietly focused on one thought:

"My daddy is coming home today," he said in a calm but resolute voice.

Indeed, Marine Cpl. George Williams, 22, was among more than 170 Marines and sailors from the 1st Intelligence Battalion, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force who enjoyed their first day home Sunday after a seven-month deployment to Iraq.

As word spread throughout the sprawling base that the plane bringing the troops had landed Saturday night at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, hundreds of family members anxiously assembled at a parade ground to await the buses bringing the troops home.

Long ago, the Marine Corps had a saying: If a Marine were meant to have a family, the Corps would have issued him one.

"You don't hear anybody say that anymore," said Sgt. Maj. Donald George, a 26-year veteran of the Corps. Now, there are myriad programs to...

You can read the rest of Tony's story about the homecoming here.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Getty images