Maj. Joe Cabell got a smile and a laugh yesterday from his son Matthew, 4, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe after returning from Iraq. Cabell was one of 23 Marine Reservists who came back yesterday.

Marine Reservists
return to loved ones
after Iraq duty

For Marine Reservist Sgt. Al Scott, a month in Kuwait and six months in Iraq seemed like an eternity.

The first few months of Scott's second deployment to the Persian Gulf were especially tough for his wife, Yuki. "I feel so lonely, watching TV and crying all the time," she said.

Tears filled her eyes as the couple were reunited yesterday at Marine Base Corps Hawaii in Kaneohe. "I'm so excited," she said. "Just happy."

Scott, 33, is one of 23 Marine Reservists from 4th Force Reconnaissance Company who returned to Hawaii yesterday to family and friends. They are the last of 250 who were deployed in February.

Twenty-eight Marines with the 3rd Radio Battalion, who also served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, arrived at the Kaneohe base yesterday as well.

Dozens of other Hawaii Marines are still deployed in the Persian Gulf, according to a Marine spokesman.

Staff Sgt. Patrick Sterling kissed his daughter, Kuuipo, 4, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe yesterday, one of 51 veterans returning from the Persian Gulf.

Staff Sgt. Donald Serrao, 26, also with the 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, was greeted by his three brothers, a 4-year-old nephew and his mother, Jeri Serrao, who said she "never stopped crying, never stopped praying."

Jeri Serrao said that after they read an e-mail from him, they would be relieved for a little while and then start to worry again.

Donald Serrao, who lives at home, is one of four sons and three daughters.

"When one is missing, it's so obvious," his mother said.

He said it's "tough being away from family and friends" and that "the hardest part was being there and not being able to help them out."

Serrao's unit conducted reconnaissance patrols, raids and provided security.

Serrao, who was decked with maile and candy leis and a huge yellow ribbon, said it would take a long time to tell the many things that he saw and experienced in Iraq.

"We almost got blown up," he said, to the surprise of his mother.

Serrao explained that his unit encountered a series of four artillery shells buried on the road to destroy convoys. He was in a Humvee, which offered little protection, he said.

Serrao said he heard three loud booms because the two preceding armored vehicles had detonated three of the shells. The driver of his Humvee slammed on the brakes, and just in time. The fourth shell was right in front of the Humvee. No one was injured.

"That must have been the night I prayed for you," said Serrao's brother David.


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