MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Family and friends gathered at the Combat Center’s Victory Field Sept. 1 to welcome home more than 130 Marines and sailors from Combat Logistics Battalion 7 after a seven-month tour in Iraq.
As part of Regimental Combat Team 7, CLB-7 monitored and conducted logistical convoys to provide troops’ needs, managed explosive ordnance demolition and operated a surgical hospital, said Sgt. Jessi Warthen, motor transportation specialist.
The largest part of the unit’s overall mission was to transport supplies, such as water, food, ammunition, letters from home and fuel, to more than 135,000 troops in Iraq, she added.
The unit also participated in the rebuilding of Iraq roads, facilities and buildings while training Iraqi soldiers to carry out their own logistics operations, according to an article written April 13 by Cpl. Daniel J. Redding, combat correspondent for the 1st Marine Logistics Group.
CLB-7 convoy vehicles traveled more than 2,000 miles per month on dangerous roads, where improvised explosive devices and insurgent attacks are continuous threats. The unit received more than 37 Combat Action Ribbons and 10 Purple Hearts as of Aug. 7, said Lt. Col. Drew Doolin, CLB-7 former commanding officer, during an interview with Gordon Dillow, a reporter with the Orange County Register.
Sgt. Vince Barrientos was hit by an IED after three weeks of the unit’s arrival in Iraq and received one of the 10 Purple Hearts. His wife was faced with one of a military spouse’s biggest fears, she said.
The first thing I asked was ‘do you have everything?’" said Barrientos’ wife, Jessica. "Luckily, he said ‘yes.’"
Barrientos recovered and continued supporting combat operations with his unit.
I think that’s what wives worry about the most," said Jessica. "Because their husbands reassure them that they’re going to be alright and nothing is going to happen to them."
Barrientos was just happy to get into some clean clothes, he said, with the memory of the IED attack far out of reach.
Troops of CLB-7 were greeted with homemade signs, ear-to-ear wide grins, hugs and kisses from family members and friends that traveled from states all over the country to meet their loved ones.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Kurt Wiese’s family traveled from Spokane, Wa., to welcome the corpsman back from his second deployment with CLB-7.
There are eleven of us that came up to see him," said his sister Karmen Cecil. "We’re very proud of him. He’s always been someone to stand behind his men, do his job and makes sure he and his Marines get home safely."
His family was looking forward to spending the rest of the Labor Day weekend doing "whatever Kurt wants to do."
"We’re probably going to take him to get a good old-fashioned American meal," said Cecil.
Almost as soon as Marines and sailors stepped onto Victory Field, they stepped off to enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend with their families and friends.