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Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division (Forward) Arrives Home Today

Judy Heaps runs toward buses along with her two sons Benjamin, 6, and Luke, 5...
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Above: Judy Heaps runs toward buses along with her two sons Benjamin, 6, and Luke, 5, at the sight of her husband, Master Gunnery Sgt. Cody Heaps

The troops of Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Division (Forward) returned home today after seven months in Afghanistan. Family and friends were on hand early this morning to greet the 130 Marines and Sailors of the 1stMarDiv (Fwd).

Sgt. Maj. Terry L. Jones, the 1stMarDiv (Fwd) sergeant major, told DVIDS the Division provided logistical, medical, legal, and communications support at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan.

It was also the responsibility of some in the Division to train Afghan security forces, a job that has become dangerous as of late due to the uptick in green on blue violence.

Jones explained:

“We needed the Afghan people to understand and realize that we’re not an occupying force. It was important for them to know that initially we fought the fight. As we assisted in their development and their training, it was important that the Afghan people saw an Afghan face leading in the fight because it is their fight.”

The Pentagon's push for a decrease in troop levels in Afghanistan meant the 1stMarDiv (Fwd) came home early. The Division was initially slated to remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2013.

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