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In the last few hours before the sun lifted the darkness, Sgt. Chad M. Lacasse, section chief, India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, holds his infant daughter Nora just before India?s deployment to Okinawa. This will be Lacasse?s fourth deployment with India. He was deployed to Iraq when Nora was born, and will miss her first birthday, as well as her first steps.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brian A.Tuthill

3/11 India Battery off to Japan

29 Apr 2005 | Lance Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill

Long before the sun came up April 29, the more than 120 Marines and Sailors of India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, geared up and left for a seven-month deployment to Okinawa.For some of the 121 Marines who deployed with India Battery and the 10 Marines who deployed ahead of the battery, this will be their first deployment. For veterans in the battery, the deployment schedule must seem hectic, deploying only six months after their September 2004 return from Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2, according to 1st Sgt. Steven M. Green, battery first sergeant.“This is my third deployment with India,” said Cpl Garrett J. Scott, a cannoneer.“We just got back a little while ago, and we’re about to head off and again and spend seven or eight months overseas," he said. "Many of the Marines here will be getting out around December.”Amongst all the Marines formed up before boarding the buses that will take them to March Air Reserve Base, only one Marine can say that this is his fourth deployment.“This is my fourth time deploying with India Battery in my five years here,” said Sgt. Chad M. Lacasse, section chief.Lacasse, who was deployed to Iraq when his nine-month-old daughter, Nora, was born will also leave his wife, Kristina, at home here at Twentynine Palms.“I don’t like it,” she said. “It’s not Iraq. I’m thankful that it’s not and will sleep better at night knowing that.”“He missed her being born already, and now he will miss her first birthday and first steps,” she continued.For some Marines, the deployment is just a matter of focusing on the mission.“I’m just saying let’s go there, let’s do our thing, and let’s just get it done with," said Scott. “We deploy so we can do what we’re trained to do. It’s our job.”India Battery Marines also sharpened their skills and learned new ones in the months prior to this deployment including non-lethal tactics and conditioning hikes.“This time around we did some humps and the non-lethal weapons training package and riot control training,” said Lacasse. “However, we didn’t do some of the training programs we did like the first time we went to Iraq, so some of the newer Marines are learning a lot from the ones who have been here for a while.”Lacasse was given the choice to separate from the unit prior to the deployment, but decided to stay on until their return from Japan.“A lot of the Marines here will leave when they get back,” said Lacasse. “There are a lot of good Marines here and I have a lot of friends here. I was given the option to leave before the deployment, but I chose to stay on and see them finish their time and see them through it.”“My wife doesn’t like the idea of me deploying again,” added Lacasse. “But she’s supportive because I told her that I’d go on recruiting when I get back so I could come home every night. I know those may be long hours, but it’s worth coming home to see her every night.”
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